On a first glance, I didn’t assume anything. But as I assembled all the ingredients and the fragrance started wafting the kitchen, I had an ephiphany of some sort. Hey, hang on.. I know this smell and I know this taste! Something is off, but still I know this taste.
True enough after I’ve dug my Chinese cookbook and compared the ingredients, the truth hit me. I was truly, madly, deeply fooled by my own eyes. The rissoni pasta and the cooking method led me ashtray. In a nutshell, this is a westernized version of a classic Cantonese Steam Fish. If you’ve attended a Chinese Banquet, you’ve eaten this dish. If you’ve ever ordered a steam fish in a Cantonese restaurant, then you’ve eaten this dish. If you’ve ever shared a steam fish with your Chinese friend, then you most likely have eaten this dish.
The ingredients are exactly the same, except that it uses white wine, instead of Chinese rice wine. I suppose white wine is a lot more ubiquitous. Also this one is baked, instead of steamed. But I’m sitting on the fence in terms of flavour. It feels lacking a certain depth. Sweetness for one, the Chinese version adds rock sugar (sweeter than the usual white sugar). The Chinese rice wine is also sweeter than your typical dry white wine.
The plus side is that this feels easier to do. Food processor does all the mixing and grinding. And if your bamboo steamer is small, this baking version allows you to double and triple the quantity. This also looks modern and not intimidating for the non-Chinese palate.
You know what, I’m going to marry my chinese recipe and this cooking method and its presentation for the next round and see how it goes.