Wednesday, April 7, 2010
You know how those chain restaurants serve their fish in teriyaki sauce, right? It's usually a pathetic slice slathered in way too much sauce. I suppose it makes a lot of sense. These restaurants probably use fish that is not supremely fresh, so drenching it in all that sauce will help mask the fishy odour.
At home, when I cook Salmon Teriyaki, I use very little sauce. When you know you are using fresh fish, why smother its natural sweetness with sauce? Here's how I usually prepare this dish ... truly fast food in every sense of the word.
I used to marinate the fish in homemade teriyaki sauce for about an hour before cooking, but I have since done away with that, and it still tastes good. I simply salt the fish fillets lightly and panfry them. In the meantime, I would make the sauce:
- 2 tbsp sugar (slightly more if you want it sweeter and more viscous)
- 2 tbsp mirin* (or cut down to 1 tbsp if you don't want it too strong)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce (use Kikkoman but Lee Kum Kee works fine too)
* I buy my big 1-litre bottle from Giant supermarket.
It may look like very little sauce, but believe me, it's enough to drizzle onto the fish (I usually buy fillets around 300g and cut into smaller slabs).
Put all that into a saucepan and boil over a low flame. Once it bubbles, stir to dissolve all the sugar. Make sure your flame is not too big or the sauce will burn. Within minutes, you'll see that the sauce will thicken slightly and turn glossy. Turn off the fire and leave it to cool. Note that if you want your teriyaki sauce to be syrupy like those commercially-made ones, you'll have to add more sugar.
Once your fish fillets are seared, place them on a cooling rack for about 3mins, then transfer to a serving plate. Drizzle teriyaki sauce over and you're ready to eat.
Oh, one other thing ... chopsticks are not just utensils for eating; they have religious connotations too. Be mindful how you use your chopsticks in Asian cultures, especially in the presence of older folks. If used improperly, they almost always symbolise death or bad omens.
For example, DON'T cross your chopsticks! Good grief, I have seen this in so many food photos. It's totally taboo in chopstick-wielding cultures. Also, never ever stick chopsticks vertically into your rice - it is symbolic of offerings for the deceased.
If you want to know more about chopsticks etiquette, have a look at Wikipedia as well as this article. The rules vary among Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese and Vietnamese cultures ... but only slightly. Superstition or not, I think it is only polite to respect these rules of etiquette. Besides, you don't want to get hollered at and have your hand smacked by my Grandma! ;)