Crispy monkfish cheek bao

Crispy monkfish cheek bao

By
From
Hong Kong Diner
Serves
4
Photographer
Kris Kirkham

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1/2 a portion Bao dough, ready to make 8–10 steamed hirata buns or burger baos
20 fresh curry leaves
1 large fresh red chilli
1 garlic clove
A pinch salt
A pinch cracked black pepper
8 large monkfish cheeks, (off the bone – ask your fishmonger to do this)
vegetable oil, for frying

The batter

Quantity Ingredient
100g plain flour
20g cornflour
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
250ml very cold soda water

Method

  1. Given the hands-on intensity of this recipe, you will want to make and steam your buns before beginning the steps below. This way the baos will be ready and waiting for the crispy fish.
  2. Pick the curry leaves off their stems and put them into a small bowl. Roughly chop the red chilli into thumbprint-size pieces and finely chop the garlic, then add to the bowl with a pinch of salt and cracked black pepper.
  3. Whisk the batter ingredients together in a large mixing bowl until smooth – it should be thin, with the consistency of single cream.
  4. Half-fill a large pot, wok or deepfryer with vegetable oil and heat to 180°C, or use a wooden skewer or wooden chopstick to test by placing the tip in the oil: if the wood starts to fizz after a second or two, the oil is hot enough.
  5. Dip the monkfish cheeks into the batter, then carefully put them straight into the hot oil and fry for 5 or 6 minutes, or until golden brown. The pieces should start to float at the top of the oil after roughly 4–5 minutes. Allow a further minute or two of frying once they start to float, until they turn a golden brown. Remove the fish pieces carefully with a slotted spoon and drain well on kitchen paper.
  6. Lastly, heat 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok to a high heat. Once the oil is smoking hot, add the garlic, chilli, curry leaves, salt and pepper and immediately add the fried monkfish cheeks. Toss through once or twice, and serve immediately by placing one piece of fried fish inside each steamed bao.

Tip

  • Try these baos with some japanese mayonnaise (available in asian supermarkets) and sriracha chilli sauce on the side, along with some salad of choice to top the bao.
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