It was a nondescript Sunday afternoon that promised to be routine as we quietly slip into the working week. Suddenly Ro-Ri San suggested that we visit the American Swedish Institute downtown as they are holding an exhibition on Nordic miniature carved figures. And since the Asian market was only a few blocks away, it made the excursion even more appealing.
During our visit at the Turnblad Mansion that houses the Institute and Swedish Consulate, we convinced ourselves that we have crossed the Atlantic to Scandinavia but that is a story for another day. A short minute’s drive away, we were at Nicolet Avenue lined with Asian restaurants and grocery stores. We went past the Malaysian restaurant, Peninsula but did not stop since it was 3:00pm and we already had lunch. We moved on to our regular grocery store.
I led the way with Ro-Ri San pushing the cart behind me. In no time our shopping cart was filled to the top with gailan, bok choy, chai sim, chives, hairy melon, lotus root, lengkuas, fresh turmeric, daun kesom, banana leaves, several varieties of tofu and noodles, mangoes, and kumquats. Also time to replenish some sauces and condiments. Alas, they ran out of pandan leaves. What a bummer! I’ll have to get it another time.
Last stop was the seafood counter. I picked up a pound of squid and a fish I have never tried before but looked very similar to my favorite pomfret. It was very reasonably priced and I gladly paid the additional quarter for it to be dressed. I was excited and can’t wait to get home.
Mom cooked this dish quite often when I was growing up. She used black pomfret as it has a stronger flavor and texture which lends itself well to being pan fried. The sweet and sour sauce helped mask the slightly “fishier” flavor. Although Pompano has a milder flavor, its texture was very similar to the black pomfret. Its flesh was mild and sweet and the dish turned out really tasty. I would definitely buy this fish again and would like to try steaming or using it in asam pedas or gulai tumis.
- 1 (1.5lb/675g) Pompano, dressed
- ½ cucumber, julienned
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp canola oil
- 3 tbsp tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp Lingham’s hot sauce
- 2 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp corn starch
- ¼ cup (60ml) water
Wash and pat dry fish. Cut two diagonal slits on each side of the fish. Lightly sprinkle salt in stomach cavity and both sides of fish.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a deep pan. Lower fish into pan and allow it to fry for 12 to 15 minutes on medium heat. Turn fish over and allow it to fry for another 12 to 15 minutes or until both sides of fish are golden brown and cooked through.
Transfer fish to a plate. Sprinkle julienned cucumber over fish.
Mix all sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a small saucepan. Add onions and garlic and fry till fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in sauce and season with a little salt. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until sauce is thick and bubbly.
Pour sauce over fish and serve immediately.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 8)