Ginger Cilantro Poached Seerfish Steak


I have been wanting to try the poaching technique for a while now. So I decided to head out to my local supermarket and buy some fish.

According to Escoffier Le Guide Culinaire “The most appropriate phrase to describe this process is boiling without boiling, if such an expressions really makes sense“… hmm! O.K., reading this expression for the first it did not make sense, because boiling is the process of heating a liquid to a temperature where it starts to bubble and turn into vapor, but reading on he says that in this process you cook foods by getting as close as possible to the boil O.K. now it makes sense.

According to About.com in this technique you cook delicate foods like fish, eggs, poultry(breast meat) and fruits in a liquid that is at a temperature range of 140 F to 180 F which is below boiling and the key thing is you should not seen bubbling activity (an occasional tiny bubble is fine) as the bubble will break the delicate foods being cooked.

Poached foods guarantee tenderness and the food being cooked in most cases is completely submerged in the liquid. Also the liquid used to poach can be a flavor carrying medium by introducing herbs & spices. After cooking the food one can use this liquid to make a light sauce by reducing and serving with the cooked food.

To get started here are some simple equipment you will need, but the pros have specialized equipment for each type of food being cooked, I am happy with the below list.

  • Depending on the size of the food being cooked you can use a small or 10-12 inch saute’ pan
  • A slotted spoon (for eggs) or a spatula for fish
  • Instant-read thermometer

Ginger Cilantro Poached Fish Recipe

The fish I choose for this recipe was a seerfish, It is a firm fish and felt that it will be a good choice for this process. I also bought some oyster mushrooms as I wanted to make a sauce to be served with the fish and some white basmati rice. I decided to reduce the poaching liquid and use it to fortify my oyster mushroom sauce

For this recipe you will need the following ingredients: –

Poaching

  1. 2 inch by 1 inch piece of raw ginger cut into slices
  2. 6 small or 4 medium cloves of garlic
  3. 6 sprigs of cilantro
  4. 2 cloves
  5. 1 inch cinnamon stick
  6. 2 whole green cardamom pods
  7. half a lemon slices
  8. 1 1/2 inch thick slice of fish stake ( I used seerfish)
  9. enough water to submerge the fish
  10. 1/2 tsp salt

Oyster Mushroom Sauce

  1. 1/2 tbs vegetable oil
  2. 2 medium sized garlic cloves (finely diced)
  3. 1 tsp green chili (seeds removed) diced small
  4. 1 tbsp scallions (spring onions)
  5. 2 tbsp carrots diced small
  6. 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  7. 1 tbsp soy sauce
  8. 1 tsp corn flour
  9. 3 tbsp reduced poaching liquid (cooled)
  10. 1/2 cup oyster mushrooms sliced

3/4 cup cooked white rice (I used white basmati rice)

Directions:

  • Rice: First get the rice started and cook it till it is nice fluffy  (optionally for a mild color and flavor you can add couple strands of saffron while cooking the rice)
  • Poached Fish:
    – Add enough water into the 10 inch sauce pan such that it will submerge the fish completely and all the poaching ingredients
    – Turn on the stove and put the flame on low
    – Introduce the thermometer monitor temperature is less than 180 F
    – Cook for about 8 minutes
    – Remove fish with a flat spatula and set aside
    – Reduce the poaching liquid to 1/2(for milder flavor)-1/4(for stronger flavor) its original vol.
    – Spoon 3 tbsp of this reduction into a container and cool by either placing the container in a freezer or an ice bath
  • Oyster Mushroom Sauce:
    – In a 10 inch saute pan add Oil and let it heat up
    – To this add diced Garlic and let brown on the edges
    – Add the Chili flakes fry for a few seconds
    – Now add the diced Green Chilies and Carrots and cook for about a minute
    – Add the Oyster Mushrooms and saute until cooked
    – Combine the Soy Sauce, Cooled Poaching liquid and corn flour and add to the pan
    – it will thicken and form a glaze
    – Add chopped scallions
  • Plating:
    – Make a bed of rice
    – Place the poached fish partly on the rice
    – Spoon the Oyster Mushroom Sauce on the rice and fish
    – Garnhish with a slice of lemon and shopped scallions

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