Recipe Chinese Style Steamed Mouse Grouper with Soy Sauce, Ginger, Scallion and Cilantro or simplified as Hongkong or Cantonese Style Steamed Humpback Grouper. I want to apologize first for Dentist Chef reader before i writing any further recipe; it’s been a while since my last post. I was so busy about my clinical requirements, besides in fact that i’ve been moved to South Sumatra Dental and Oral Hospital (Rumah Sakit Gigi dan Mulut Sumatera Selatan). I guess the phrase “passion will find it’s way” isn’t as easy as is sounds. I realized it’s hard to find a way to posting a recipe between the daily patients, clinical reports, case presentation and stuffs, so then i need to put myself 100% into it and left blogging aside.
Humpback grouper (Cromileptes altivelis) 0r mouse grouper, kerapu tikus in Bahasa Indonesia or 老鼠斑 in cantonese panther grouper,and also called in barramundi cod in Australia. Mouse grouper is a reef fish which can grows up to 70 cm. The mouse grouper shape compressed laterally and is relatively high. This stocky and strange visual effect is accented by its concave profile and its elongated snout which gives it a humpbacked appearance.
Tim Ikan Kerapu Tikus ala Hongkong or Ikan Kerapu Bebek Kukus Kecap was the first ever mouse grouper i had in Bandar Djakarta Green Bay Pluit Seafood Restaurant. The live mouse grouper which swimming with it’s head facing down in a tank was tagged about IDR. 930.00)/kg (93 USD/kg). Pretty damn expensive for a sea creatures, not to mention that you charged extra IDR 20.000 (2USD) for cooking it. Right after you pick one of the mouse grouper from the tank and weighted it outm the restaurant will confirm the price and then right before they cooked it, the waitress used to come to your table to reconfirm about the price, The mouse grouper was steamed in a simple soy sauce and sesame oil base broth, topped generously with chopped cilantro leaves and served with a dip of black vinegar, ginger and chopped bird eye chillies. Sounds boring, but trust me, your taste buds will apreciate the sweetness and the soft texture of the steamed live humpback grouper, eventhough in fact the chef cooked the fish a tad overcooked, yet it still taste superb when i eat it without any dipping sauce.
Mouse grouper it’s famous high end expensive food for steaming fish in Hongkong, Malaysia and also Singapore. Even the flesh texture of the mouse grouper is not as firm and succulent as seven star grouper or chinese silver pomfret which is commonly used in Steamed Fish in Teochew Style Recipe, nothing compare mouse grouper natural sweetness. The secret recipe for a fine taste of simple chinese style steaming fish is within the ingredients and the whole processes. The fish must be fresh and preferred alive, timing on steaming fish is crucial; then you better be checked the doneness of the fish every minute in the last 5 minutes. Overcooked expensive fish will ruin your day for sure.
I purchased the live Mouse grouper from Iane Fish Market that located on Jl. Kebagusan dalam I no.42, Pasar Minggu, South Jakarta. The mouse grouper in this recipe weighed about 700 grams and tagged IDR 280.000 (40 USD/kg). Iane fish market is a trusted live seafood distributor that provide many kinds of farmed live seafood, including many kinds of groupers; including mouse grouper, coral trout, mud grouper. Beside, they provide several variant of lobster, including slipper lobster, bamboo lobster, and sand lobster. One thing for sure, they provide it with much more afforable price tag rather than fancy seafood restaurant like Bandar Djakarta Seafood Restaurant.
I was acccompanied by Tintin Syamsyudin, author of Tinsyam.Wordpres.Com who happen as Jakartans food anthusiast who guide me when i was “foraging” to get the live mouse. Well, actually i was hunting the fish market throughout the Jakarta’s steel forest, damned traffic and crowded populated area of Jakarta, not to mention a big rainy storms that hits us right after we packed the live fish, lobster and prawn and try to get home. Despite the hillarious journey we had that night, it’s a worthed and pretty great deal though; it’s all cost half of the fancy seafood restaurant price.
Thanks God for having Tintin Syamsyudin as a guide, i guess i won’t get there her. We were get to Iane Fish Market by afternoon at 6.P.M. I bring the live mouse grouper to my sister house with two layer of platic bag and i put some air pump aerator to kept the mouse grouper, the lobster and the prawn alive before i cooked it in the next day. I’ve posted the Live Lobster Ceviche Recipe before and i hope i can post the live prawn sashimi recipe later on.
Mouse grouper is pricey not only for the taste and texture but also as a symbol of status among chinese descent people. Serving live fish especially the rare ones like mouse grouper in a festive occations like wedding, birthday or simply entertaining relatives is a statement as a wealthy family. Some of the fishes is tagged even more expensive when it’s labelled as a wild catch, luckily my live grouper in this recipe is a farm raised from southern Lampung; clearly this made me feeling less guilty. I heard the farm involved in enviromental “green policy” that require reintroduced 1 baby mouse grouper to the the natural habitat for every five 10 they raised.
Since 2007, Mouse Grouper is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, because the species is naturally rare, so is sensitive to overharvesting due to its high value in the live food fish trade and to habitat degradation. Commercialy hatchery production is not intended for reintroduction, but instead for the aquarium trade, so does not result in an increase in the natural population or a decrease in demand as food. So, we should be responsible to not let our future generation only know mouse grouper from picture unless we stop eating mouse grouper; unless for one try shoots only.
Recipe Chinese Style Steamed Mouse Grouper (Hongkong Style Steamed Fish with Soy Sauce, Ginger, Scallion and Cilantro)
- 1 medium size live mouse grouper fish weighed about 700 gr, cleaned, gutted and scalled (you can replace with any white fleshes fish, live ones would be preferred)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup thinly slice button mushrooms
- 10 lokio or bawang batak (chives)
- 1 tbs of rock sugar
- 2 tbs of premium light soy sauce
- 1 tsp premium mushroom sauce
- 1/2 tsp of sesame oil
- 2 tbsp of angciu /chinese cooking wine
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 cm knob of ginger, finely chopped
Note: Mix all liquid ingredients and dissolved the rock sugar on it prior to steaming the fish
Garnish: Chopped cilantro
Dipping *optional : Chinese Black Vinegar, Soy Sauce, Jullienned Ginger, Chopped Bird Eye Chillies
How to Make Hongkong Style Steamed Mouse Grouper Fish:
- Rub the fish lighly with salt and lemon juice, set aside
- Put the sliced ginger, garlic and chives inside the fish belly
- Put the fish in heatproof steaming pyrex bowl
- Steam the fish about 2 minutes until half done
- Discard the dripping liquid
- Put the rest of the ingredients (except the garnish)
- Steam the bowl in your highest fire for about 10-15 minutes
- Put the fish in a serving plate, garnish with chopped cilantro