Steamed Fish Head with Ginger, Leeks & Green Onion

It took me and my dad a total of about three hours to reach the piggery farm my dad owned and managed in Plaridel, Bulacan.  My dad’s work was just beginning, and my journey to hunt for bull frogs from the depths of the fish pond was in full force. I had an air gun I’d bring every time whenever me and my father visited the farm and just for the fun of it, shoot bull frogs peeping from the ledges of the pond.  That made my morning. After about another hour or so, lunch was ready. It was almost always prepared by the family entrusted by my dad to manage the farm, and they surely knew how to make something out of nothing. I really didn’t expect much from lunch, but the tilapia that was raised from the fishpond was amazingly tastier and fresher than the usual fried tilapia served by the household help for dinner.  It was grilled at either close charcoal or cooked by firewood, and that I guess brought more taste into the fish itself.  It just came out amazingly succulent and divine.

I would usually devour a whole fish just for myself. I really didn’t mind if there were ten thousand flies hovering and pestering us over lunch. They made the meal even more memorable, so to speak.  I enjoyed the simplicity of seating down on a wooden bench and table, munching the grilled fish and sucking the soul out of the poor thing. I ate every part of the fish as taught to me by my dad.  I do the same for tuyo and tinapa.

I still can’t muster to eat the eyes, but the head of the fish, for me, is the best and juiciest portion of the entire fish. I love sucking the nitty-gritty parts of the fish head and bones down to its tail. That’s how juicy it was. There was something which made the taste of the fish flutter and fly as against those sold and cooked in Manila.

I don’t normally cook nor eat fish. There’s that unusual wet market smell that clings to clothes which totally turns me off whenever I decide to buy one in Chinatown. I would usually go for frozen fish for safety and hygienic reasons. I’d really prefer pork, meat for that matter, to satisfy my hunger after a long and tiring day at work.  However, after some quick research, I discovered some ways of preparing the fish head. Moreover, I really missed sucking the fish head itself.

I really wouldn’t have the chance to grill nor roast fish on open charcoal. It’s just impossible to do so living in a room in an apartment building. The oven is also out of the question.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Fish Head (Carp)
  • A Stalk of Green Onion & Leek (Julienned)
  • Ginger (Julienned)
  • ½-1 tsp. Hoisin Sauce
  • 1 – 2 tbsps. Light Soy Sauce
  • ½ tsp. Brown Sugar
  • ½-1 tbsp. Shaoxing Cooking Wine
  • Ground Black Pepper

Wash and pat dry the Fish Head & season with salt and pepper.

Dredge with cornstarch and pan-fry and/or deep-fry.

Place the julienned ginger, green onion, and leek on the plate first before resting the fish. Drizzle with Shaoxing Cooking Wine, Light Soy Sauce, Hoisin Sauce and sprinkle with brown sugar.

Steam the plate in a bamboo steamer for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Garnish with ginger, green onion and leek and pour or drizzle with hot peanut oil before serving.

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