Yesterday, Cakes and I stopped at the Billingsgate Seafood Market for lunch (the best fish & chips this side of Melbourne) and I bought a gorgeous thick halibut fillet. I had a vague idea that I wanted to do a fish dumpling in broth, but wasn't quite sure what I intended exactly. For a recipe that, as I said to Cakes, I "pulled out of my ass", what resulted was a pretty stellar way to dress some fish up for a spectacular dinner. This one's going on my list of dinner party dishes.
If you're looking for something interesting to do with that really nice piece of fish you bought and you want something a little fancier than just plain grilled fish (even if it is crusted with sesame seeds). This is your dish. It's not too fancy though, and has great fresh, simple flavours. I used halibut, but it would work equally well with a other firm fleshed fish like tuna, swordfish or salmon.
Aside from perhaps the bok choy, if you've got a fairly well-stocked pantry, you should be able to knock together this tasty dish for a first course or a main, in not much more time than it would take to grill that fish. The broth is lemony and garlicky and the dumplings are really delicate and tender because I made them with the same dough as Chinese Jiaozi. The bok choy, soy sauce and sesame oil give it an Asian flavour. Make extra, because someone's bound to want seconds.
- 350 grams halibut fillet, skinned
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger root grated
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 1/4 cups white flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 teaspoon butter, soft
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 4 cups water
- rind of 1 lemon
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon minced lemon grass
- 2 chopped green onions
- juice of 3 small or 2 large lemons (about 1/3 cup)
- 1 large bunch bok choy thinly sliced, both white and green parts
- 1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
- soy sauce for drizzling
- sesame oil for drizzling
Chop the fish fillet into cubes about 3 cm or 4 cm square, you should end up with about 16 or 20 cubes. Toss the cubes into a Tupperware container with the soy sauce, garlic, ginger and sesame oil and allow to marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Sift the flour and salt together. Drop the teaspoon of butter on top of the flour and pour the boiling water over top. Mix the dough together swiftly - the best way to do this is to use a Kitchenaid or other stand mixer. Roll the dough into a ball, cover with flour and then waxed paper and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
While the dough is resting, combine the chicken stock, water, lemon peel, lemongrass, garlic and onion in a large soup pot. Leave the stock to simmer while you work with the dough. Slice the bok choy and set aside.
After the dough has rested, use your fingers to pinch off small balls, about the size of a large kumquat or small apricot. Flour your work surface well and use your rolling pin to roll each ball out into a circle about 10 to 12 centimetres across. You should be able to make around 20 circles of dough. Flour each circle and stack them.
Bring the stock to a vigorous boil.
Drain the fish cubes. Place one cube in the centre of each circle. Use a pastry brush to dampen the exposed edge of the dough. Fold half of each circle over the fish cube to make a semi circle and pinch the edges of the dough together, pleating it as you go, rather than making a flat edge. Fold and please the dumplings one at a time and drop each one into the boiling stock before you move on to folding and pleating the next one. This will give the stock enough time to recover a full boil between each dumpling. After you have tossed the last dumpling into to pot, add the bok choy and cilantro, allow the pot to boil for 30 seconds more and then remove it from the heat and set aside. Let the pot rest for 5 to 8 minutes. Ladle about 2 cups pf the stock off into a small bowl and add the lemon juice to it.
Use a slotted spoon to remove some bok choy and dumplings to each of four soup plates and then ladle over a bit of the reserved stock with lemon juice. Drizzle over a bit of soy sauce and a few drops of sesame oil.
Serves 4 as a main dish or 6 to 8 as a starter.