Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Chinese New Year Monkfish with Cilantro & Garlic

Rich in tradition and custom, Lunar New Year is the most important holiday for many Asian cultures. Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar with January 31, 2014 ushering in the Year of the Horse, according to the Chinese zodiac. And as with many traditional Chinese gatherings, food often plays an important role in Chinese New Year celebrations, with dinners tending to be very elaborate involving tables laden with auspicious foods. Almost every dish has a symbolic meaning or name that sounds like Chinese characters for fortune, happiness, longevity and prosperity. 

Chinese dumplings symbolize wealth due to the shape being similar to 
ancient gold or silver ingots

Fresh Oysters symbolize 'abundance' and 'good fortune,'
which is how we began our meal with half-a-dozen oysters

Chinese dumplings are one of the most important foods during Chinese New Year, since the shape is similar to ancient gold or silver ingots, they symbolize wealth. Noodles are eaten for long life; clams, because they look like coins, are eaten for wealth; fresh oysters symbolize 'abundance' and 'good fortune'; oranges are passed out freely during Chinese New Year, and with their golden colour they symbolize money and fortune for the coming year; rice represents the spiritual link between Heaven and and Earth; and fish, which is known as "Yu”, symbolizes abundance and prosperity. This delicious Asian-inspired recipe for Monkfish with Cilantro, Garlic, Chili & Orange celebrates a healthy, delicious and auspicious start to the Chinese New Year. Kung Hei Fat Choi! 

2014 is Year of the Horse, according to the Chinese zodiac

Fresh monkfish, slivered garlic and diagonally sliced green onions

Monkfish medallions dusted with fine cornflour

The monkfish is sautéed in a little oil until lightly browned

Once browned, they are set aside briefly

Puréed ginger, garlic and cilantro

The purée is sautéed with chili flakes, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, 
orange zest and slivered kumquats for about 5 minutes

The browned monkfish is added and tossed gently with the mixture and warmed through

 The chopped Cinese broccoli, or Gai Lan, is sautéed with slivered garlic, ginger, 
sesame oil, sambal oeelk, soy and oyster sauce, until the stalks are al dente

Jasmin rice

Coriander, Garlic & Chili Monkfish
Serves 4

2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 1/2 lb monkfish tail, cut into 2-inch thick medallions, then halved
2 tbsp corn flour
6 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped

2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped, plus some whole for garnish
3 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp sugar

2 spring onions, julienned on bias cut
1 orange, zest only
4 kumquats, slivered
1/2 cup chicken stock

Lightly coat the monkfish medallions with corn flour. In a deep sauté pan, shallow-fry the fish in sunflower oil over medium-high heat until the medallions become lightly golden, about 3-4 minutes per side, then set aside. In a small food processor, purée the chopped garlic, ginger and cilantro until it becomes a loose paste, then stir-fry for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the chilli flakes plus the remaining ingredients and mix well. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the monkfish and gently warm through, coating well with the mixture. To serve, transfer the fish to a serving platter and spoon over the cooking juices from the pan. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve immediately with rice and stir-fried chinese broccoli.

Long Leafy Greens such as Chinese broccoli are served during Chinese New Year 
to wish a long life for parents

Chinese Broccoli in Oyster Sauce
Serves 4

1 bunch Gai Lan Chinese broccoli, washed
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced into thin strips or minced
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sambal oelek
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil

Slice the Gai Lan diagonally, separating the hard stems from leaves. Heat some vegetable oil in a wok or sauté pan over medium-high. Add the garlic and stir fry stirring until it become light brown, about 30-60 seconds, then add the sambal oelek, sesame oil and soy sauce. Add the chinese broccoli stems first, and stir for 6-7 minutes until tender, then add the leaves, stirring until they're wilted but still bright green. Add the oyster sauce, then stir and remove from heat. Serve immediately.