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Dining In 3 minutes 19 June 2018

Recipe: Steamed Barramundi With Scallion Ginger Pesto

Chef Sebastian Goh of modern Chinese restaurant Yellow Pot at Six Senses Duxton shares his recipe for the homely fish dish with an Italian twist.

Chinese Cuisine dining recipe

In Chinese cuisine, the quintessential dish of steamed fish is typically drenched in lashings of soya sauce and garnished with thinly-sliced ginger, spring onions and sprigs of coriander. But, modern Chinese restaurant Yellow Pot in the new 49-room-boutique hotel Six Senses Duxton proffers an unconventional way of serving the fish — with an Italian twist.

Scallion and ginger are typically steamed with the barramundi to enhance its flavour. Instead of relegating them to the sidelines, Yellow Pot’s Chinese chef Sebastian Goh slathers a lush green scallion and ginger pesto on the sliced fish fillets.

He says: “The pesto transforms the fish as the fragrant flavours of the ginger, spring onion and coriander take centre stage in a more concentrated and unique way.”
Instead of serving scallions and ginger on the side, Yellow Pot's Sebastian Goh has made a pesto out of these ingredients. (Credit: Yellow Pot)
Instead of serving scallions and ginger on the side, Yellow Pot's Sebastian Goh has made a pesto out of these ingredients. (Credit: Yellow Pot)
To reduce food wastage, he has switched the traditional soya sauce dressing for a house-made fish stock brewed with anchovies, fish bones and trimmings. After the fish bones and trimmings are seared, it is simmered in a pot for two days to extract the flavour of the fish.

Achieving homespun flavours inevitably involves slaving away in the kitchen and Goh hopes to offer a slice of hearty home cooking through his menu at Yellow Pot, which draws references from various culinary provinces in China. Much of the food involves the use of organic and sustainably-sourced ingredients to yield innovative twists in classic Chinese cuisine.

Goh, who previously helmed Chinese restaurant Szechuan Court in Fairmont Singapore, adds: “Due to fast-paced modern lives, many diners don't have much time to cook at home. We want to re-create home-cooked flavours for them in the restaurant.”
Chef Sebastian Goh makes his own pastes and marinades such as fermented chilli bean paste (doubanjiang). (Credit: Yellow Pot)
Chef Sebastian Goh makes his own pastes and marinades such as fermented chilli bean paste (doubanjiang). (Credit: Yellow Pot)
For example, many of the pastes and marinades that are used in the dishes are made in the restaurant. They include the fermented chilli bean paste (doubanjiang) that is the base of the hot and sour soup that is brewed with wood ear mushrooms, beancurd and Sichuan chilli oil. The same paste is also used in the braised sweet and sour eggplant ($14).

One of Goh’s creation is a lemongrass, garlic, shallots and celery marinade that doubles as a natural meat tenderiser. The marinade is featured in one of Yellow Pot’s most popular dishes, seared pork cheeks with cumin, chilli and mango ($12).

For the Peking duck, the lacquered bird is roasted over hickory wood chips after being seasoned for two days in a house-made fermented bean curd marinade that is a flavourful blend of star anise, bay leaf, fermented tofu, cinnamon and locally-produced five-spice powder.
Score a sweet and sour surprise with this appetiser of Chilled Organic Vine-ripened Tomatoes. (Credit: Kenneth Goh)
Score a sweet and sour surprise with this appetiser of Chilled Organic Vine-ripened Tomatoes. (Credit: Kenneth Goh)
One of the much talked-about dishes in Yellow Pot is the chilled organic vine-ripened tomatoes. The lightly poached tomatoes may look innocuous but they give a surprising jolt of sweet and sour flavours when bitten into. The tomato orbs are soaked for three days in a chilled Li Hing plum juice that is mixed with herbs, liqorice root, mint leaves and rock sugar.

Goh was inspired by the pairing of preserved plum with teas to come up with this appetiser that perks up the palate. He says: “This appetiser brings out the sweetness of the tomatoes that is complemented with the tartness from the plum juice.”

Besides cooking at Yellow Pot, Goh is part of the culinary team that is behind its sister hotel, Six Senses Maxwell, slated to open in October in another conservation shophouse in Chinatown. The boutique hotel will have five F&B outlets, including an all-day Southern European Brasserie, a Peranakan restaurant that also offers afternoon tea that pairs Nyonya kueh with teas from the neighbouring teahouse Yixing Xuan, as well as two bars on the ground floor and one up on the roof.

Recipe: Steamed Barramundi With Scallion Ginger Pesto

Ingredients

4 Kühlbarra barramundi slices (200g)
5g Chinese wine
3g sesame oil


For fish stock
Fish bone from filleting barramundi
A handful of roasted anchovies
20g ginger, chopped
20g garlic (skin peeled), chopped
10g leek, chopped
10g spring onion, chopped


For scallion ginger pesto
30g young ginger (skin peeled)
20g spring onions
5g coriander
10g garlic (skin peeled)
2g Himalayan rock salt
2g brown sugar
30g olive oil

Method
1. Fillet barramundi to 50g per piece. Set aside the fish bones for the preparation of fish stock.
2. Lightly marinate the barramundi fillets with Chinese wine (huatiao chiew) and sesame oil.  
3. Steam the barramundi for about 5 minutes. Set aside.
4. To make the fish stock, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a pot. Stir-fry the fish bones, ginger and leeks until they turn golden brown.
5. Pour 500ml of water into the pot, add roasted anchovies, garlic and spring onions and simmer the mixture over low heat till it gets reduced to 100ml. Set aside.
6. To make the pesto, chop the young ginger, spring onions, coriander and garlic finely.
7. Add the chopped ingredients into an electric blender. Add the Himalayan rock salt, brown sugar and olive oil into the mixture. Blend till the mixture becomes smooth.
8. Place the steamed barramundi fillets on a plate and pour the fish stock over the fish.
9. Spread a layer of scallion ginger pesto on each fillet before serving.


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