Fatboy is a food magazine named after its editor, Christopher O’Leary (Fatboy was his childhood nickname). Christopher grew up in the then UK-governed Hong Kong, and this issue is a tribute to the strange mishmash glory of its cuisines — classic dishes like “macaroni soup” and “baked pork chop rice” tell the story of a long history of cultural occupations. The decision to theme an issue around Hong Kong, Christopher explains in his editor’s letter, is in solidarity with protesters against the new security law passed on 30 June, which makes it easier to punish protesters and allows for anything China views as subversive, secessionist, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces to be punished with up to life in prison.
The issue is characteristically colourful and personal — one of my favourite pieces is about the writer Kenneth Lam travelling to Hong Kong to cook and eat with his grandmother. To celebrate the issue’s release, Christopher shared his favourite Hong Kong recipe with us — for steamed fish, which he loves for family reasons, as it’s eaten at big celebrations.
Take your time with this dish, buy the freshest white fish, crispiest ginger and spring onion. You’ll also need a way to steam the fish.
800g whole sea bass (make sure it’s cleaned but not filleted)
3 spring onions
Sesame seed oil
Start by rinsing and drying the fish, set aside.
Take the spring onions and slice them down the middle, then chop into thirds. Peel and slice the ginger into long thin strips about the size of a thumb, you’ll want enough of both to line the inside of the fish (I personally counted 6-7 slices of ginger and 2 spring onions).
Line the inside of the dry fish and place in the steamer. Steam on a high heat for 8-11 mins (to tell when the fish is done the meat will turn opaque and flake easily, if you have a cooking thermometer it’s temperature should be at least 63 °C. Transfer the fish to a serving dish but make sure to drain off excess water. Dress the top of the fish with the leftover spring onion.
In a small pan, carefully heat up the oil and add the leftover ginger, when it starts to brown (1-2 mins) carefully pour it directly over the fish.
Another option is to mix soy sauce and sugar then pour over the fish.