Friday, January 30, 2015

Get Curious and Have a Cooking Adventure!

It's so important to keep your inquisitive nature when cooking.  There's nothing worse than falling into a routine of making the same 6 dishes day in and day out.  It's what makes cooking become a chore when in reality in can be such creative fun.  For those of you that say "...but those 6 dishes are in my comfort zone.  I know when I make them they'll turn out just fine..."  I urge you to step away from the comfortable and familiar and try something new.  Have an adventure in your kitchen.  I promise that nothing bad will happen and most likely you will discover something new and delicious to add to your recipe collection.  And remember if the worst happens and your adventure doesn't turn out you can always order a pizza!

All it takes is deciding to explore a new cuisine or unfamiliar cooking technique. Or perhaps just going to the market and choosing an ingredient that isn't your usual chicken.  In this day and age of the Internet you can always get a quick YouTube tutorial even on something that is completely foreign to you or something that you think is beyond your cooking ability.

To get out of my comfort zone I decide tackle an Asian-style steamed fish.
Ginger & Scallion Steamed Turbot with Forbidden Rice, Sauteed Shimeji & Shiitake Mushrooms and  Seared Baby Bok Choy
I'm not a person who usually steams fish at home but will enjoy it when I go to a Vietnamese restaurant. Steamed fish always conjures up flavors of ginger, scallions and soy and perhaps a spark of chili to give the mild, steamed fish some kick.

To further take me out of my familiar cooking place I choose a fish that I haven't worked with, Turbot.  A cousin to Halibut, Turbot has a mild, delicate flesh and is a good choice for steaming.
Turbot Fillet
The balance of my plate will be Forbidden rice,  baby bok choy, sauteed Shimeji and Shiitake mushrooms.  
Forbidden Rice
Forbidden rice cooks up just like regular rice and has a lovely, nutty taste and terrific chewy texture.  I know the black color will also look great in contrast to the white fish.  

The bok choy is easy to prepare:  I cut the bok choy in half and wash them very well.  After drying I season with salt & pepper then drizzle with oil.  I sear them in a hot pan and then give them a squeeze of lemon.  They still have a lot of crunch that is a nice contrast to the fish.

Bok choy cut in half, seasoned and then drizzled with oil

Searing bok choy in hot pan
Caramelized bok choy

With shiitakes sliced and the shimejis seperated, I saute and with garlic, shallots and sesame oil.
Shiitake & Shimeji Mushrooms

Sauteed mushrooms with sesame oil, garlic & shallots

I decide to go with a Chinese-style steamed fish that is steamed with julienne ginger and scallions.  After the fish steams you spoon hot oil over it and then drizzle with soy and sesame oil.  I add garlic & shallot to the hot oil.  For the soy mixture I add Sambal chili paste, rice wine vinegar, sugar and Vietnamese fish sauce.

I portion the fish into 6 oz portions, I season them well with salt and top them with scallions & ginger.  I use a bamboo steamer over a wok to steam the fish.
Portioned Turbot with julienne scallions & ginger

Bamboo steamer

Turbot ready for steaming
The fish steams in under 10 minutes.  After steaming I spoon the hot oil over the fish and top it with the soy mixture and  garnish with fresh scallions.
Garlic & shallot hot oil
Just steamed Turbot with hot garlic & shallot oiil spooned over.
 This is a dish that comes together very easily and has lots of great flavor
Turbot with soy mixture spooned over and scallions

Chinese-style Steamed Turbot
So that was my cooking adventure.  I had so much fun trying something new and am glad to add this dish to my repertoire.  Please try cooking something new this weekend and let me how it turns out.  Don't be afraid and have fun!

I think Julia Childs said it best:


  1. OMG Onil - your photos are an inspiration. I wasn't hungry when I started to read today's blog and I am really drooling now that I am done!!!

  2. We were fortunate to be the recipient of this great meal. Onil's personal pairing of the wine was delectable. Thank you, Onil. I highly recommend you try this recipe with the forbidden rice and turbo your dinner palate. Bon appetit.