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This is my first attempt to gut and scale a large fish – a sea bass weighing about a kilo caught by Mark, a friend who’s an avid angler. He generously gave it to us to try, in his own words, “so that you can compare the taste of a sea bass fished from the deep-sea and that sold in the wet markets.” This is because most sea bass sold here are farm-reared ones.

Cleaning fish is really a thing of the past here as all fishmongers offer that value-added service. Armed with a sharp knife, a chopper, a knife, a pair of kitchen scissors, a vegetable shredder (interesting, it was a pretty good gadget to scale the fish) and some old newspaper to cover half the floor area of my tiny kitchen, I embarked on the tedious mission of scaling,  gutting and deboning the fish. Trust me, it was no easy task, practically like an art lesson. Scales were all over the place – on cupboard doors, refrigerator doors, the rest of the uncovered floor (*sigh..* I should’ve covered the entire kitchen) and, yes, in my hair too (must remember hair cap next time)! My tiny kitchen was in a total mess and it didn’t help that my domestic helper kept laughing and commented that it looked like I had just slaughtered a pig! As much as I appreciated the love gift, throughout the entire time I was grumbling to myself, “why didn’t he clean it first?”…”we shouldn’t have accepted it”… “next time I’ll pay the fishmonger to do the job”……

Anyway, after a long forty-five minutes struggle, gills & guts were removed, fillet & bones were separated. I put the washed bones (including the head) with several slices of ginger into a pot of boiling water to make fish stock. The fillets were sliced and cooked chinese-style to eat with steamed rice for dinner tonight.

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I must admit that it was the freshest sea bass we had ever eaten and absolutely free of the muddy or soil taste typical of farm-bred ones. Simply put, “SUPER” as exclaimed by my eldest daughter. No doubt it was thumbs-up from everyone so it was well worth the sweat after all.

Now I can’t wait to use the remaining fish stock. I’ll probably throw in some vegetables and seafood into it to make a delicious soup for dinner tonight.

Thank God indeed for a thoughtful friend and the SUPER sea bass ;D

SLICED SEABASS FILLETS IN GINGER & SCALLION SAUCE

Ingredients

(A) 2 pcs Seabass fillets (about 600gms)
– cut fillets into 1cm slices and transfer to a bowl
– season with 1 tablespoon black soya sauce, 1 tablespoon light soya sauce, 1 tablespoon rice wine, 1 teaspoon sugar and some white pepper

(B)
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil

(C)
2” knob ginger, julienned
White part of scallions (cut a bunch of scallions into 1” length & put aside the green part for use later)

(D)
1/2 tablespoon light soya sauce (or more, to taste)
250ml fish broth or hot water

(E)
Green part of scallions (from (C) above)

Directions

1) Heat (B) in a frying pan till really hot. Add (C) and stir-fry for 1 min till fragrant.
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2) Add (A) and stir gently to avoid breaking the fish meat. Add (D). Cover pan and cook on high heat until fish is done (about 2-3mins).
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3) Add (E). Give it a quick stir and transfer to a serving dish immediately.
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5) Serve hot with steamed rice and a side vegetable dish.
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