Thursday, June 10, 2010

Grilled Garoupa

This is variation on a previous post, steamed garoupa and i cooked it at night, thinking I wouldn't be blogging it, but it turned out so well, i really thought i must -- just to remember what i did. The photos were taken this morning, and so the fresh grilled texture of the dish, doesn't really come through -- but here is my method.
I got the garoupa at 9.45am at Fresh Fish (FF) and there were lots. It was not expensive, it usually isn't. It was a medium sized fellow, under a kilo, 600 gms fully cleaned (at FF) descaled and washed (at home). I sliced open the belly, and scored the fish, making sharp, deep cuts through out the sides, and then made a marinade. I had thai in mind, but i think a messed around enough, so that it didn't taste that familiar.

For the marinate i mixed a couple table spoons of fish sauce, 1 of soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of rice vinegar, and enough kithul treacle to balance the sourness. i needed one cube of sugar as well. Just get it delicately balanced, and of course it will be salty. I mixed these in the small attachment to the mixer/blender, and then added a whole blub of garlic, peeled, half an inch of ginger, 1 large shallot (bombay onion), and 3 green chillies. I pureed this, into a fine paste, and put the fish back into the FF sarasara (polybag) it came in, and poured the puree into the bag, mixed it well with the fish, expelled the air, and tied it tight. (Bagging is a technique i learnt from TV shows -- my, its great, the marinade really works harder, since it is pressed so close to the meat, you need less of it, and its inexpensive if you reuse a bag).

A few hours later, we were ready to roll, when the critter who lives by the bar top announced she was very hungry. Out of the bag, into the cast iron skillet with a few drops of sesame oil, and layed out the fish to simmer, while the grill heated up. High heat grilling is key to this dish, so i should say, i use the grill element (1950W) of a medium sized oven, and place the pan about 3-4 inches below the grill. Now i use a skillet that can move from stove top to oven. I can't say how valuable this is -- and i really thank the day i got it! After the pan is hot, and fish is simmering, it went under the grill for 6 mins, and again, after turning the fish, for another 3. The bottom is already warm, so it doesn't need as much time on that side. Be careful not to over cook! Once it was done, i removed the fish carefully on a plate, adding fresh diced baby leeks, and sliced green cillies to the sauce in the skillet, let it braise over high heat for a min. Not too long. Finally pouring it over the plated fish.

I thought this was better that the steamed version, even. Now in most restaurants I've tried garoupa -- its very common in east Asian places -- the options are usually steamed or deep fried. I used to prefer the steamed, because the sauce was lighter; the deep fried version is some times cloyingly sweet. But in this version i made, somehow, perhaps because of the dry high heat of the magic grill -- the delicate flavor of the fish - it is a white, well textured, soft fish - was enhanced, but not over powered by the marinade/sauce. The accents of sour (rice vinegar)/sweet(kithul)/hot (ginger & green chilli)/salt (fish & soy sauce), were like notes of music playing on my tongue. Honest. I was not even that hungry, so i think i trust my judgment.


cj said...

Wooow this looks absolutely fabulous and is that a lion hiding behind the fish :)

Pradeep Jeganathan said...

thank you, and well spotted sir! yes, it is :)

Vindi said...

Hello :) If you don't mind me asking- where abouts is this Fresh Fish place? I love Garoupa and haven't had much luck finding it. I assumed that it was called something I hadn't quite figured out yet. Much thanks!

Pradeep Jeganathan said...

Fresh fish is at the corner of Joesph lane, and R.A. De Mel Mawatha (Duplication Road), Bambalapitiya.

But you can get Garoupa at other places also.

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