"The coral trout is the sweetest fish around, so treat it with care and respect. Steaming is the best way to bring out the lip smacking flavour and texture of this majestic fish. The method is classic Cantonese and I have used all the ingredients sourced from the Sunshine coast, including the fish. If you have a fish steamer then that’s perfect, but if not a roasting pan with a wire rack on top large enough to fit the fish will work just as well." Peter Kuruvita, Peter Kuruvita's Coastal Kitchen
- 1 whole plate sized coral trout (about 800 g -1 kg), scaled and cleaned
- 50 g white sugar
- 200 ml peanut oil
- ¼ bunch spring onions (scallions), shredded on the diagonal, roots reserved
- 100 g ginger, peeled and cut into julienne, trimmings reserved
- 10 garlic cloves, thinly sliced, peelings reserved
- 1 bunch coriander, leaves picked, roots reserved
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 4 habanero chillies, halved
- 100 ml sweet Chinese rice wine
- 50 ml sesame oil
- 200 ml light soy sauce
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place a large roasting pan on the stove and fill one third full with water. Add the reserved spring onion roots, ginger trimmings, garlic peelings, coriander roots and a splash of the sesame oil and bring to the boil.
Meanwhile, rub the fish with the remaining sesame oil, place onto a wire rack, then cover it tightly with foil. Place the rack on top of the baking tray with the boiling water and steam for 10 minutes.
To make the garnish, place the spring onion, ginger, garlic, chillies and half the coriander in a bowl. Once the fish has been steaming for 10 minutes, scatter half the garnish over the fish, then cover again with the foil. Steam for another 3-5 minutes or until just cooked through.
While the fish is steaming, place the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until hot.
When the fish is cooked, transfer to a platter and spread the remaining garnish over the top. Drizzle the hot sauce over the top of the garnish, then sprinkle with the sugar.
Place the peanut oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it is smoking. It needs to be smoking when you pour it over the fish so it is hot enough to caramelise the sugar but don’t leave it unattended. Pour the smoking hot peanut oil over the trout, then scatter over the remaining coriander leaves and serve immediately.
• The peanut oil has to have aroma and flavour. The supermarket version has no taste or smell, so you’ll need to head to an Asian supermarket to get the real thing.
Photography by Dan Freene. Food preparation by Peter Kuruvita/Cody Fahey.