Hed Chef: Claypot fish head
Claypot fish head
Fancy a hearty dish that is delectable and well-suited for a family feast?
Claypot fish head is one that will whet the appetite and excite your taste buds.
Some prefer serving the fish head whole, but I find this a hassle. You need a large quantity of oil and a wok or pot large enough to deep-fry the whole fish head. If your wok is too shallow, turning the fish head over to deep-fry the other side can be a challenge.
I chose to ask the fishmonger to cut the fish head into large pieces - this made deep-frying more manageable.
The fishmonger recommended garoupa fish head for this particular dish as the flesh is firm enough to withstand the double-cooking process of deep-frying, followed by a quick braise in the claypot.
Garoupa fish head is also a choice selection for those who appreciate the gelatinous parts and relish picking through the bones.
Serve the dish hot. The claypot filled with golden-fried pieces of fish and vegetables in bubbling gravy qualifies as comfort food, especially on a rainy day.
INGREDIENTS (SERVES 6 TO 8)
- 1 whole fish head (1.9kg), cut into large pieces, about 8cm in length
- ½ tsp salt
- 200g cornflour
- 400ml cooking oil (Reserve 3 tbsp of used cooking oil for the gravy later)
- 15g ginger, sliced thinly
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 onion (110g), sectioned
- 1 carrot (140g), cut into half lengthwise and sliced
- 140g napa cabbage, cut into 5cm by 3cm pieces
- 1 tomato (140g), sectioned
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 80g dried beancurd sticks, broken into 8-cm lengths
- 1.2 litres of water
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 1 tbsp of water
- Dash of white pepper
- 10g spring onion, sliced into 5cm lengths
- 5g fresh coriander leaves
1. Place the fish head in deep dish, season with ½ teaspoon of salt.
2. Dredge each piece of fish in cornflour.
3. Heat oil in wok over medium heat.
4. Fry the pieces of fish head in batches of two or three pieces until golden brown and crisp.
5. Place the fried pieces on kitchen paper to drain off excess oil. (A)
6. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the used oil. Heat this oil in a clean wok over medium heat.
7. Fry the sliced ginger for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant.
8. Add the chopped garlic and fry for another minute until fragrant and add the onion. Fry for another minute.
9. Add the carrot and fry for 2 minutes. (B)
10. Add the napa cabbage and tomato.
11. Add the oyster sauce, fry for a minute and add the dried beancurd sticks.
12. Add the 1.2 litres of water. Add the light soy sauce and Shaoxing wine. (C)
13. In a small bowl, mix the 1 tbsp water and 1 tbsp cornflour. Add this mixture into the wok.
14. Add a dash of pepper.
15. In a claypot, add half of the vegetable mixture.
16. Place the fried fish pieces in the claypot and add remaining gravy.
17. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for 2 minutes.
18. Garnish with the spring onion and coriander.