This exotic dish by chef Marcus Samuelsson packs a spicy punch thanks to the fragrant chili oil. Impress your friends with this protein-rich Chinese recipe that is easy to make but layered with flavor and texture.
2 lb whole striped bass, cleaned, rinsed, and patted dry 1 pinch coarse kosher salt 2 scallions, quartered 2 tsp sesame oil 1 lb long beans, trimmed and cut into 3 inch pieces or substitute green beans 1 lb fresh Chinese noodles 1 cup mala sauce or Chinese chili oil
1. Set rack in a roasting pan. Pour in 1 inch of water and bring to a boil over high heat.
2. Season the fish inside and out with salt. Stuff the cavities with the scallions, and rub the fish with sesame oil. Set each fish in a shallow bowl.
3. When the water’s boiling, set the bowls on the rack and seal the roasting pan tightly with foil. Steam the fish for 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. The fish should be barely opaque in the center (make a cut into the fish to check). If the fish isn’t done to your liking, steam it for another minute or two.
4. While the fish is steaming, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the long beans, bring back to a boil, and cook for 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl with a spider or slotted spoon. Add the noodles to the boiling water, bring back to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water. Drain the noodles and add to the beans. Add the mala and toss, adding some of the cooking water if you need to loosen things up.
5. Scrape the skin off one fish with a spoon. Slide the top fillet onto a cutting board. Grab the tail and lift the bones off. Flip the bottom fillet onto the board and remove the skin. Repeat with the other fish.
6.Divide the fiery noodles and beans between four shallow bowls. Top each with a piece of fish and serve. The fish heads can be the cook’s treat, or you can put them out and share.
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