From Too Many Chefs -

April 16, 2004
Asian Fish Raté

Last night, I decided to try to reproduce - with a few minor departures - a dish that I always order when we go out to our favourite Chinese restaurant, in the Paris suburb of Boulogne. The restaurant is owned and operated by a very good friend of ours, Mr. Kai-Yin Cheung and it's called Chez Ming. Steve has his favourites: Potage Pékinoise (Hot and sour soup) served with the spiciest hot oil either of us has ever tasted, followed by skewers of shrimp and beef on a sizzling platter. But for me it is, and will always be, the Poisson au Gingembre that makes my evening.

So last night, I decided to try my hand at imitating Mr. Cheung's delicious dish. Usually, it comes to the table covered with thinly sliced spring onions and ginger and basking in a lovely dark mixture of soy sauce and nectar of the gods (i.e. I have no idea what else he uses). My spring onions were looking distinctly fall-ish, so I decided to try julienned leeks instead. As I don't actually have a steamer large enough to contain the fish I bought, so I decided to "steam" everything by putting wine and soy sauce into a baking pan, covering it with foil and baking in a hot oven.

First, I put about 1/3 cup dry white wine in the baking pan and added about 3 Tbs soy sauce. Then I added the sliced leeks.

The next step I would skip the next time as unnecessary: I put the pan in a hot oven (200c/400F) in order to give the leeks a little more time to cook than the fish. Next, I sliced some small mushrooms. I layered the the mushrooms and then the fish on top of the leeks. As a final touch, I dribbled a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce on the fish. I baked it for about ten minutes.

Do you notice anything missing in this? I didn't.

I had started rice cooking before preparing the fish, and steamed brocolli just after putting the fish in the oven. (It seemed like the perfect vegetable for this dish, and was.) Everything done, I plated it and it looked pretty nice, I thought:

fish cooked.jpg

And it tasted pretty good too...despite the fact that I forgot the fresh ginger. Yes, that's right, it was called "Fish with Ginger". Kind of hard to forget, you would think, no? But I am only here to make you all feel nice and smug about how much cleverer you are about cooking. How very embarrassing. Still, it wasn't bad. Just not as nice as it could have been.

So if you would like to try this at home, I would suggest doing exactly as I did with two exceptions:

- put everything in the pan at once

- don't forget to julienne a couple of inches of fresh ginger and add it with the rest...

Or better still, go have the original:

Chez Ming
4 av Gén Leclerc 92100 BOULOGNE BILLANCOURT
01 48 25 57 03

Everything we have tried there is good, though the dishes I mentioned are our favourites. Cheung is also a recurrent champion in the Paris snooker league, so you can admire his cups all over the restaurant. (Yes, that's how we met him - Steve has hopes of some day taking an actual match off of him...)


I found this photo on the CNN site - kids, don't try this at home! They look like they came out of our Easter Eggs, don't you think?

(Just in case you are worried about the poor little chicks, this is the caption that ran with the photo: Chicks in Easter-egg colors feed at Triple D Farm and Hatchery in Palmer, Alaska. The hatchery sells a few hundred for the two weeks leading up to Easter each year. Owner Anthony Schmidt says a nontoxic dye is injected into eggs before the chicks hatch, coloring their down. The birds' natural coloring returns as they grow feathers.)

Posted by Meg in Sussex at April 16, 2004 1:22 AM | TrackBack

Hmm.... Somehow I don't think that sushi picture is an authentic photo.


Posted by Barrett on April 16, 2004 at 9:28 AM

I don't know to whom I should give credit - it has been making the rounds by e-mail for a few months. So to the anonymous creator: THANKS!!

Posted by Meg in Paris on April 16, 2004 at 10:28 AM