It’s been a while. I’ve been committed to serving my country and it has completely drained my energy and willingness to get into the kitchen, but I haven’t stopped having ideas and questions about food. The most prominent ideas I’ve been toying with in my head involve using Sous Vide to recreate Asian dishes-Asian Flavours infused into meats, then cooked sous vide.
Seeing a gigantic garoupa at the wet market, I knew that this was a prefect place to start. As far as I remember, salmon is the only fish I’ve cooked sous vide, at a very very low temperature, to a texture unlike anything that can be achieved through normal cooking. But there are some who find its texture disconcerting, and I completely understand why. So I decided to go with the highest temperature listed in the Sous Vide Guide for fish – 60.5C.
– Roughly chop peeled ginger, peeled garlic cloves, and spring onions
– Add sesame oil to pan and lightly saute ginger, garlic, spring onions. Add Thai fish sauce, Thai lime juice, light soy sauce, teaspoon of sugar, 2-3 small chillis, and a handful of chye poh(Salted radish)
– Blend everything into a paste
– Rub the paste all over the fish, and into its flesh
– Sous vide the whole fish with lime leaves, let flavors infuse
– Cook at 60.5C, time depends on size of the fish, mine took about 3 hours.
– Soak more chye poh in water, drain, dry as much as possible, then deep fry
– Remove liquid in sous vide bag when the fish is done, bring to a boil and it reduce a little, then mix in some sesame oil
– Serve fish with sauce, garnish with spring onions and fried chye poh
What? Negative marks for presentation?
Fish was beautifully soft and moist, falling off the bone. The paste gave the fish very refreshing flavour, with acidity of the lime juice and freshness of the ginger, but it was delicate enough not to overpower the natural taste of the fish. Cooking it at 60.5C yielded the shortest cooking time possible, and cooking such a gigantic fish sous vide made it easier to deal with(Rather than moving the fish around in a pan, which agitates the flesh, moving it in a sous vide bag ensured that the fish didnt break apart, and when ready to serve, the bag is simply cut, and the fish is slid out)
Despite being pleased with the texture of the fish, it didn’t really offer much difference from the steamed garoupas Ive had at Chinese restaurants, maybe thats somewhat of a compliment to my sous vide fish, but I guess I was expecting something a little more from the technique. Also, I found that the fish was cooked a little unevenly, the head portion was a little undercooked, the middle was perfect, and the tail was overcooked. A possible explanation for the undercooked head is, heat transfer is a lot slower through air, between the hollowed out portion between the head and the body. The tail being overcooked is pretty self explanatory, but it does highlight the importance on how long you leave your food cooking sous vide, as it can get overcooked. Possible future experiments: Sous vide Garoupa at lower temps? Maybe in the 58.0C range
Sous Vide Garoupa served with Crab and Olive Fried Rice