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Frankfurt cookbook reviewer

Source: Shu Han Lee: Chicken & Rice

Dumont Publishing House

Price: € 32

This is the type of steamed fish that Shua Han likes best, especially because she grew up with it in Singapore. It's traditionally made in a large steamer or in a wok over boiling water, but it's much easier to do in the oven. Shua Han Lee took an idea from French cookbooks by cooking the fish "en papilotte" - sounds extravagant, but it means nothing more than wrapping it with a dash of broth in baking paper and carefully sealing it so that it steams rather than steam bakes and its meat and remains tender. Without further ado, I replaced the lard with thin slices of bacon that I wrapped around the fish. The fish was delicious, but not exactly suitable after work if you don't have the individual components such as mustard cabbage, fried shallots and shallot oil in stock. This recipe definitely needs a run-up, but the trip was worth it for me.

Ingredients (for 2 - 4 people):

3 medium-sized dried shiitake mushrooms

70 g salty pickled cabbage (about 2 pieces see p. 259)

1 large sea bream (approx. 1 kg), scaled and gutted


1 piece of ginger (approx. 2.5 cm)

1-2 red bird's eye chilies

1 salted prune (available in the Asian shop)

20 g pork fat, finely diced * (I use thin bacon slices)

1 heaped tablespoon of fried shallots (see p. 251)

200 g cherry tomatoes

1 tbsp shallot oil (see p. 251)

1 small handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped

* Pure pork fat is distributed over the fish in such a way that the lard runs out and keeps the fish fragrant and juicy during cooking. Teochew and Hokkien cooks like to use lard to add flavor to food, but this is not as common in modern Singapore as it used to be. Pork fat is available from good butchers. If you prefer to leave it out, just take a little more shallot oil.


Preheat the oven to 180 ° C.

Wash the mushrooms and just cover them with warm water. Let them steep for about 30 minutes until they are soft. Drain the pickled mustard cabbage and soak briefly in warm water, only about 10 minutes, so that it is not quite as salty. Rub the sea bream all around with plenty of salt, set aside and prepare the vegetables.

Cut the ginger into thin strips and finely chop the chillies. Drain the pickled mustard cabbage and cut finely. Drain the mushrooms, squeeze them out and cut into strips. Save the soaking liquid - it will make your broth.

Cut off a piece of parchment paper large enough to wrap the fish in. Place the paper halfway on a baking sheet. Lightly mash the salted plum and rub the flesh of the fish on the outside and inside. Place the fish on the paper and cover with mushrooms, mustard cabbage, ginger, chillies, pork fat and fried shallots, putting some under and into the fish. Spread the tomatoes all around and drizzle everything with the mushroom stock and shallot oil.

Fold the other half of the paper over the fish in such a way that a packet is created that has enough space for the cooking juices. Fold the edges of the paper over and wrap until the packet is tightly sealed. Place in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size. Remember that the fish will continue to cook in the package even after it has been removed, and allow for this time.

You can serve the parcel straight from the baking sheet or carefully transfer it to a plate. First open at the table and sprinkle with a few fresh coriander leaves. Serve with boiled rice over which you spoon the delicious brew.


You can use most white-fleshed fish with flaky flesh. Bream mackerel or sea bass is traditionally used. Shu Han Lee prefers sea bream because it is a more sustainably caught and cheaper type of fish that has meat as tender and aromatic as sea bass.

Salty pickled vegetables

Ingredients (makes a large glass):

3 - 4 bunches of mustard cabbage (pak choi or other vegetables)

2 tbsp coarse sea salt


A large mason jar

Fermented vegetables have a long history in many cultures. The most famous examples are sauerkraut from Germany and kimchi from Korea. This method was particularly important in those times when refrigerators were not yet widely available inexpensively. Lactic acid fermentation not only makes the vegetables durable, but also gives them an unmistakable sour and salty aroma that goes well with many dishes. There are all kinds of salty pickled vegetables in Southeast Asia, but the most common is the peppery mustard cabbage (pak choi). Most leafy vegetables with a crisp stem - young white cabbage, Swiss chard, pak choi or Asian salads - are well suited for this recipe.


Separate the mustard leaves from each other, dispose of all withered and damaged leaves and rinse under running water. Place on a wire rack and let air dry for a few hours until the leaves are no longer damp and slightly withered. Cut into large pieces.

To sterilize, rinse the jar with boiling water and then dry it in a warm oven. Instead, you can also sterilize it in the dishwasher.

Put the mustard cabbage in a large bowl and knead with half of the salt. Let stand for 20 minutes to let the leaves draw water and collapse a little, then squeeze firmly to force the liquid out. Fill the jar with mustard cabbage, making sure that there are no empty spaces.

Put the rest of the salt in the glass. Pour boiling water over the leaves until the leaves are covered and weigh them down with a clean smaller lid or a resealable bag filled with brine to keep the leaves under the water.

Cap and let it steep for a week in a cool, dark place. Taste (with a clean fork or chopstick!) Whether the vegetables are ready - they should taste salty and slightly sour. If it is not acidic enough, close the lid again and let it stand for a day or two. The vegetables will keep for up to 6 months, but if you don't like them too sour, you should put them in the fridge as soon as you find them sour enough; this ends the fermentation process.

Fried shallots & shallot oil


100 g. Shallots

About 250 ml of peanut oil for frying

1 pinch of sea salt

Peel shallots, cut into thin slices and gently divide into small rings with your fingers. First pat dry, then mix with salt - this will make them crispier. Do this just before frying, otherwise the onion rings will sweat.

Heat about 5 cm of oil over medium heat in a wok or in a heavy saucepan. If it's not hot enough, the shallots won't cook properly, if it's too hot they will burn. Test the temperature by sticking a wooden stick into the oil - tiny bubbles should hiss up on it.

Put the shallots in the hot oil. They should sizzle gently. Fry for about 8-10 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. From now on you have to be careful: From now on, the step from wonderfully crispy shallots to burnt mess is pretty small. As soon as a little more than half of the shallots are golden brown, take them off the heat and let them sizzle in the residual heat of the oil until they are perfectly brown. If you don't take the shallots off the stove until they're brown, they'll be burned at the end.

Drain - the fried shallots will be crispy as they cool. Do not throw away the fragrant, aromatic oil! You can also store the shallots in it, but be sure to let them cool down separately beforehand, otherwise the shallots will continue to cook in the hot oil.

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Posted in RecipesFishSouth Chinese CuisineSoutheast Asia