KitchenTigress: Crispy Bean Steamed Cod

Crispy Bean Steamed Cod

There are two types of cod. The type used for fish and chips is cheap and cheerful. It's a whitefish that's quite lean. The other type is expensive. It's also a whitefish but extremely oily.

Oily cod is great for steaming. I like steamed cod with hot bean paste, crispy beans, garlic, and spring onions. The topping is crisp and fragrant. It's a perfect match with the moist and oily fish.

What are crispy beans?
Crispy Beans
Aka 豆酥, crispy beans taste a bit like natto. Unlike natto which is wet and slimy, crispy beans come in dried, hard balls. The balls have to be broken up and pounded into coarse bits before cooking.
豆酥 (Crispy Beans)

Here's the video that taught me how to make crispy bean steamed cod:

Source: Adapted from 阿基師
(Recipe for 4 persons)

800 g black cod cut 3-cm thick, rinse, debone and slice into 8 equal size pieces
any white fish such as threadfin, sea bass or red snapper would do too
½ tsp salt
2 tsp white rice wine
1 sprig spring onion, wash, trim and cut 5 cm long
4 slices ginger
4 tbsp 辣豆瓣醬 (hot bean paste)
5 tbsp vegetable oil
45 g 豆酥, pound/grind into coarse 1-2 mm bits
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, peel and mince very finely
1 sprig spring onion, wash, trim and cut ½ cm long

1. Preheat plate by steaming over rapidly boiling water for 3 minutes.

2. Sprinkle salt and rice wine on fish. Mix thoroughly.

3. Spread ginger and spring onion on plate. Place fish on ginger and spring onion. Cover and steam over medium-low heat till just cooked, 7-10 minutes.

4. Check that fish is totally opaque inside by flaking thickest part with chopsticks. Remove from heat. Discard ginger and spring onion. Baste fish with liquid in the plate.

5. Whilst fish is steaming, stir-fry hot bean paste in 5 tbsp oil over low heat till fragrant. Strain oil on crispy beans. Mix well. Set aside till fish is cooked. (Keep drained hot bean paste for other dishes, such as 麻婆豆腐 or 回锅肉.) 

6. Wipe pan/wok with paper towels.

7. Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil till moderately warm. Add crispy beans, minus excess oil (which may be used as for drained hot bean paste). Stir-fry over low heat till colour changes slightly, removing bubbles if any. Add garlic. Stir-fry till mixture is lightly golden.

8. Taste and add some drained hot bean paste if too bland, or pinch of sugar if too salty. Turn off heat. Add spring onion and stir through. As residual heat dissipates, beans and garlic should turn just golden brown.

9. Spread mixture evenly on steamed fish. Serve immediately with rice.