Deep Fried Fish Head with Leeks
Since discovering the KOGI tempura mix (where have I been all this time, you may wonder – I also say!!), I have decided that this is the go-to flour mix for all my deep fried dishes. Life should be simple right?! Why complicate it by following some purist video on YouTube (nothing wrong with purist videos) on the benefits of mixing your own flour mix? The reality of it is someone went to all that trouble and food technology to develop this perfect flour mix and I the snob is not using it.
Therefore I now use it.
So I decided to follow some other guy’s recipe for making Claypot Fish Head and minus all the unnecessary stuff that I didn’t want (more like I didn’t have in my fridge) and whipped up the same dish but in a different style with the same ingredients.
I deep-fried my fish head following the classic claypot fish head style – Claypot Fish Head (incidentally I also have another recipe on that cult classic). But this time I added leeks. And more importantly, this time I used the KOGI tempura mix!
The end result was needless to say perfect! (Okay lah, as perfect as perfect can be) I am only but a home cook trying to cut corners and make delicious foods with as little ingredients as possible.
Fish Head (any kind will do, angoli aka red snapper or garoupa aka grouper is good, I usually pay SGD 5 for one large one at my favourite fishmonger at CCWM, because I am cheapo, I usually select the bigger head, ask the uncle chop into small pieces and bag into two portions)
Leeks (wet market leeks are the best, you can choose until you bruise the entire batch and the vegetable Aunty won’t be mad at you – do this at your own peril)
KOGI tempura mix (apply this mix on the surface of the marinated fish pieces lavishly)
Light Soya Sauce (I like to use premium soya sauce, not because I am rich, but the premium soya sauce really does taste much nicer! This also goes into the marinate for the fish)
Shao Xing Hua Tiao Jiu (They sell this at NTUC and there are many different brands that have similar packaging. Again, I buy the most expensive one because it really does make my food taste better. This also goes into the marinate for the fish)
Teochew Fermented Soya Beans (aka tau jiu in Hokkien/Teochew,this is our favourite type of fermented soya beans. Not overtly salty, and consistently great tasting)
Oyster Sauce (I prefer the brand that has an image of a lady rowing a boat with a small boy, Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce)
Olive Oil (I use olive oil to do the deep frying because I use that for cooking anyway, so it works for me. I know I should be using some light vegetable oil like canola etc – not palm oil – but I can’t be bothered really as I don’t use all that much oil anyway. Just enough to fry two pieces at a time.)
Ginger (young ginger is good, but any ginger also can. Grate it so that it forms part of the marinate for the fish pieces)
Purple Onions (instead of saying medium onions, I prefer to just call it like it is. You go to the typical wet market and it is the medium size purple looking onion. Just one will do.)
Old Garlic (there are the two basic types, Chef Garlic and Old Garlic. Use the old ones as they have more flavour. Just three pieces will do.)
a. Use a Ziplock bag to marinate the fish head pieces. The Ziplock bag is useful because can Ziplock and seal in the marinate and allow the fish to soak up the juices.
b. Grate an inch of ginger and dump it into the bag.
c. Pour in about 3 tablespoons of light soya sauce.
d. Pour in about 3 tablespoons of Shao Xing Hua Tiao Jiu. Leave it to marinate for about an hour at least in the fridge.
1. Marinate the fish head slices first. Let it stay in the fridge for about an hour.
2. Heat the olive oil in the wok and pour just enough for frying two pieces at a time using the tilt-the-wok technique. If you are using a light vegetable oil, please use that. Olive oil is healthier. Try not to use palm oil. It’s unhealthy.
3. Coat the marinated fish pieces in the KOGI tempura mix, ensuring a good coat and then frying the fish until the fish pieces are a light brown. Place them in a metal strainer with a paper towel to absorb excess oil. Do this until all fish pieces are fried.
4. In a heated wok, with three tablespoons of olive oil, stir fry the ginger until slightly fragrant, then add minced garlic, and sliced onions. Continue to stir fry. Then add two tablespoons of oyster sauce and a tablespoon of the fermented soya bean. Continue to stir fry until fragrant.
5. Add 2 bowls of water, add the sliced leeks (make sure you wash them thoroughly as these usually have sand in between their leaves.) and immediately dump all the fried fish head pieces into the wok. Cover with lid and let it cook for a good 5 minutes over a big fire.
The leeks should be softened, the fish head crispy skins should now be soggy and the water should be a thick sauce.
Serve with white rice.