RECIPES THE GLOBAL NA­TIVE

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Five fish recipes from the inim­itable chef Ivan Brehm of Nouri

At his new restau­rant Nouri, chef-owner Ivan Brehm uses the novel to evoke the fa­mil­iar WORDS CHAR­LENE CHOW & SIM EE WAUN ART DI­REC­TION PEARL LIM STYLING PRISCILLA TAN PHO­TOG­RA­PHY CALVIN TAN

Ja­panese Mar­i­nated Mack­erel (Shime Saba) Serves 1 The bold flavour of mack­erel stands up to the strong charred smok­i­ness of bin­chotan. For the cured mack­erel

80g mack­erel, cleaned, fil­leted and pin-boned

50g salt

50g su­gar For the pick­ling liq­uid

250ml Ja­panese rice vine­gar

25g su­gar

50ml mirin Grape­seed oil, a driz­zle For the char­coal oil

80g (1 stick) char­coal bin­chotan, (avail­able from char­coal-grill sup­pli­ers like Teck Seng Hin or use or­di­nary char­coal)

1L grape­seed oil For the spring onion purée

1kg spring onions

100ml char­coal oil Salt, to taste For the ponzu jelly

250ml good qual­ity ponzu (use recipe be­low or good store­bought ponzu)

4 sheets gelatin For the ponzu sauce

1 lemon, juice and zest

1 or­ange, juice and zest

1 lime, juice and zest

65 ml sake

25g frozen yuzu zest (avail­able at shops like Se­crets Fine Food, Ise­tan Scotts su­per­mar­ket, Meidi-Ya)

700ml mirin

525ml rice wine vine­gar

550ml tamari soy sauce

110ml ‘thin mouth’ soy sauce (usukuchi) or light soy sauce

10g dried bonito flakes

15g dried kelp (rishiri-konbu), lightly browned on both sides over an open flame For the gar­lic shoots

3 gar­lic shoots, sliced into

6-10 cm lengths 1. Pre­pare the mack­erel. Com­bine the salt and su­gar in a bowl. Lay mack­erel skin-side down on a tray. Sprin­kle with the salt-and­sugar mix and leave for one hour in the re­frig­er­a­tor. Rinse well. 2. To pre­pare the pick­ling liq­uid, com­bine the Ja­panese rice vine­gar, su­gar and mirin in a bowl and whisk un­til the su­gar has dis­solved.

3. Trans­fer pick­ling liq­uid to a re­seal­able bag.

4. Place the fish in, mak­ing sure it is sub­merged in the pick­ling liq­uid. Leave aside in the re­frig­er­a­tor for about 2-2.5 hrs.

5. Re­move fish from the pick­ling liq­uid and set it on fish pa­per*, or pa­per towel. Cover in plas­tic wrap and leave overnight in the fridge. 6. Now, store the fish in re­seal­able bags with some grape­seed oil us­ing the wa­ter dis­place­ment method**. Place bags in the fridge. (This fish can be frozen for longer stor­age if nec­es­sary. Oth­er­wise, use the fish within the week.)

7. Pre­pare the char­coal oil. Place grape­seed oil in a metal bowl. Over a gas burner, hold the char­coal in the flame with tongs un­til the char­coal is com­pletely ig­nited. Plunge the char­coal quickly into the grape­seed oil. Do this care­fully as the oil will splat­ter. Cover oil im­me­di­ately and let it steep overnight. 8. Strain the oil and store in jars or re­seal­able bags us­ing the wa­ter dis­place­ment method. 9. Pre­pare the spring onion purée. In a very hot fry­ing pan, char the spring onions till black­ened. Cover and al­low it to steam for about 1-2min. Al­ter­na­tively, grill the spring onions till com­pletely cooked through. Set aside to cool. 10. Now com­bine the spring onions with the char­coal oil and purée in a blender un­til smooth. 11. To make the ponzu, gen­tly warm the sake and then flambé it off the heat. Leave the sake to cool, add all the other in­gre­di­ents and trans­fer mix­ture into a jar or re­seal­able bag us­ing the wa­ter dis­place­ment tech­nique. Age ponzu for at least one month in the re­frig­er­a­tor be­fore us­ing. Strain as needed.

12. Make the ponzu jelly. Soak the gelatin in iced wa­ter till fully hy­drated, about 1 min. Wring it dry. In a saucepan, bring 50ml of the ponzu to a quick sim­mer. Re­move from heat and add gelatin to the warm ponzu. Stir, and add the gelatin-ponzu mix to the re­main­ing 200ml of the ponzu. Place in a con­tainer and chill for at least 6 hrs to set. 13. To pre­pare the gar­lic shoots, steam the shoots for roughly 3-5 mins (de­pend­ing on thick­ness) till they are cooked through, then shock them in ice wa­ter. Grill or sauté them in a dry pan for roughly 30 sec­onds till they are charred and blis­tered. Sea­son.

14. To as­sem­ble, care­fully slice the mack­erel into quar­ters. Ar­range on a plate skin side up. Break the ponzu jelly into bits and ar­range them over the plate, add dol­lops of spring onion purée and scat­ter over with gar­lic shoots. *Ja­panese fish pa­per can be found in Toyogo, Daiso, Ise­tan or Meidi-Ya su­per­mar­kets Sin­ga­pore

** The wa­ter dis­place­ment method is an easy way to min­imise oxy­gen con­tent in re­seal­able bags. Put food into a re­seal­able bag. Leave just a tiny open­ing un­sealed. Lower it gen­tly into a cold wa­ter bath. The wa­ter will push out all of the air in the bag, much like a vac­uum sealer.

Sweet & Sour Fish Skins Serves 10-12 Th­ese deep-fried grouper skins are a great ap­pe­tiser, and are in­spired by the Chi­nese dish of sweet and sour pork.

For the sweet and sour sauce

220ml wa­ter

80g ketchup

100ml Ja­panese rice vine­gar

100g caster su­gar

1/2 tbsp potato starch

For the fish skins

(Saved from the grouper fil­let in

the next recipe)

Oil for deep-fry­ing

1. Pre­pare the sweet and sour sauce. Com­bine all in­gre­di­ents ex­cept the potato starch in a saucepan and bring to a boil. 2. Stir a few ta­ble­spoons of wa­ter to the potato starch to form a slurry. Add potato starch mix­ture to the sauce in­gre­di­ents and boil briefly till the mix­ture is thick­ened. Strain and set aside. 3. Pre­pare the fish skins. Thor­oughly clean the skins of any meat and scale residue. Place them into a metal bowl or tray set within a steamer bas­ket.

4. Steam skins un­til com­pletely cooked through—any­where be­tween 1-2 hrs. The skins should break eas­ily when lightly pressed.

5. Al­low skins to cool, then dry them for 6-8 hrs in an oven at its low­est set­ting. Check on them oc­ca­sion­ally. The skins are ready to be fried when they eas­ily snap. Store in air­tight con­tainer un­til ready to be fried.

6. Pre­heat oil to 190-200˚C and fry skins un­til they puff up and be­come crisp. Press them while still hot against pa­per tow­els to re­move ex­cess oil. Ar­range on a plate, driz­zle with sweet and sour sauce and serve. Kini­law Serves 1 This is the Filipino ver­sion of ce­viche, known as kini­law, which uses vine­gar rather than cit­rus to cook fish. You can also find a vari­a­tion there called ki­lawin, which con­sists of cooked meats mixed with vine­gar and other condi­ments.

100g sasahimi-grade hamachi, tuna or sword­fish, diced large A small hand­ful red onions,

thinly sliced

A small hand­ful torch gin­ger,

juli­enned

A small hand­ful dill fronds Ground black pep­per, to taste A small hand­ful green mango,

juli­enned

50ml fen­nel flower vine­gar

(or sub­sti­tute with ap­ple cider vine­gar)

10ml fer­mented pep­per­corn brine (see recipe be­low)

5ml co­conut oil

Salt, to taste

5 fer­mented green pep­per­corns (see recipe be­low)

Small hand­ful of fried pork fat For the fer­mented green pep­per­corns and fer­mented pep­per­corn brine

4g salt

80ml wa­ter

50g green pep­per­corns

1. For the fer­mented green pep­per­corns and pep­per­corn brine, com­bine salt, wa­ter and the green pep­per­corns in a jar. Place a clean small plate on top of the mix­ture to keep the pep­per­corns sub­merged. Leave it at room tem­per­a­ture to fer­ment for 2-3 weeks till mix­ture is fra­grant and pep­per­corns have soured to a pleas­ant acid­ity. Strain pep­per­corns from brine and set aside.

2. Place fish, onions, torch gin­ger, dill, fresh ground black pep­per and green mango in a bowl. 3. Add vine­gar and fer­mented pep­per­corn brine and leave to mar­i­nate for a few min­utes. The fish should start to dis­colour slightly. Ad­just the mar­i­nat­ing time de­pend­ing on how cooked you wish your fish to be. (Around 3-5mins should suf­fice for sashimi-grade lightly-cooked fish).

4. Stir in co­conut oil and salt to taste. Serve with a driz­zle of mar­i­nat­ing liq­uid, fer­mented green pep­per­corns and some fried pork fat. Trout, Raisin and Elder­berry Serves 1 Ex­e­cuted in a North­ern Euro­pean style, this dish uses in­gre­di­ents like fen­nel and elder­berry with sweet and tart notes to pair with the trout’s fatty, firm flesh. Burnt raisins add a depth of com­plex­ity. For the fen­nel oil

100g fen­nel fronds

110ml grape­seed oil For the elder­berry sauce

10 large red seed­less grapes Fen­nel pollen, a pinch (avail­able from spe­cialty stores, or sub­sti­tute with ground fen­nel seeds passed through a sieve)

50ml vegetable stock

10g but­ter

5g pick­led elder­berry, rinsed (avail­able from spe­cialty stores, or use small ca­pers in brine)

A few drops of wa­ter, if re­quired For the ar­ti­choke purée

Cook­ing liq­uid:

10ml lemon juice

28ml vegetable stock Salt, to taste

160ml ex­tra vir­gin olive oil

200g globe ar­ti­choke heart, peeled (avail­able from su­per­mar­kets like Culina or Se­crets Fine Food)

1 clove of gar­lic, peeled and sliced

2 sprig of thyme

1 pinch salt For the trout

1x 80g trout fil­let, skin on, pin-boned

Salt, a few pinches

Su­gar, a few pinches Rape­seed or ex­tra vir­gin olive oil, enough to cover fish

1. Pre­pare the fen­nel oil. In a blender, purée fen­nel fronds and grape­seed oil for sev­eral mins on the high­est set­ting un­til mix­ture has warmed to around 70˚C. Pour it into a strainer lined with cheese­cloth, set over a bowl. Leave in the fridge overnight to drip. Re­serve till needed.

2. Pre­pare the elder­berry sauce. Char grapes over an open flame. Place grapes in the oven at its low­est set­ting to dry for at least 5 hrs, or un­til the sur­face is dry but still moist in­side. Do not re­move the charred skin.

3. Place grapes and vegetable stock in a saucepan, and boil till the stock has re­duced by half. Stir in but­ter and con­tinue boil­ing. Then add ca­pers or pick­led elder­berry. Set aside.

4. Pre­pare the ar­ti­choke purée. Com­bine lemon juice, vegetable stock, salt and ex­tra vir­gin olive oil in a bowl.

5. Place 50ml of this stock mix­ture in a heat-re­sis­tant re­seal­able bag to­gether with ar­ti­choke heart, gar­lic, thyme and a pinch of salt. Seal us­ing wa­ter dis­place­ment method (see pg. 45).

6. Place the bag into a pot of sim­mer­ing wa­ter and cook for around 60 mins or till ar­ti­choke hearts are very soft. Then purée the mix­ture in a blender and pass it through a fine sieve. Sea­son and set aside till needed.

7. Cook the trout. Lightly sprin­kle equal amounts of salt and su­gar on the flesh side of the trout fil­let, then set aside at room tem­per­a­ture for 10 mins. Place the fish with skin side up in a small, deep bak­ing tray.

8. Warm oil in a saucepan to 60˚C, pour oil onto the fish, un­til the oil cov­ers about half the fish fil­let. Leave aside for 5 mins.

9. Then place the tray with the fish un­der a hot sala­man­der* or broiler for about half a minute, un­til the fish skin can be peeled off with­out tear­ing. (If skin does not come off eas­ily, re­turn fish to the grill un­til you can re­move the skin in one piece.)

10. Gen­tly re­move the fish from tray and set aside.

11. Just be­fore serv­ing, heat the elder­berry sauce. Add fen­nel pollen to sauce. If mix­ture splits, add a small amount of wa­ter and bring it back up to a boil un­til it is emul­si­fied.

12. To as­sem­ble, place fish on a plate and spoon over elder­berry sauce with grapes. Place some ar­ti­choke purée on the side, and driz­zle with fen­nel oil.

* If you do not have a sala­man­der, you can bake the fish in a 160˚C pre­heated oven for ap­prox­i­mately 4 mins un­til the skin comes off eas­ily. Black Pep­per Grouper Serves 12 Chef Brehm first ex­per­i­mented with black pep­per sauce in a black pep­per crab dish, be­fore cre­at­ing this Can­tonese-style black pep­per fish. The fer­mented sweet potato noo­dle bal­ances the rich­ness of the black pep­per sauce.

For the grouper

5% salt brine (mix 25g salt with

500g of wa­ter un­til com­pletely dis­solved)

3-4kg black grouper (yields about

12 por­tions of 80g)

For the sweet potato noo­dle For the sweet pota­toes:

300g pur­ple sweet pota­toes, peeled

5% salt brine (mix 250g wa­ter with 12.5g of salt un­til dis­solved) Crock­pot or jar (clean and ster­ilised)

For the noo­dle:

200g fer­mented, cooked pur­ple sweet potato

42g sweet potato flour

14g tapi­oca flour

2 pinches salt

25ml wa­ter Parch­ment pa­per or plas­tic wrap

For the black pep­per sauce Brown su­gar mix­ture:

18ml soy sauce

6ml mush­room soy dark

30ml oys­ter mush­room sauce

20g brown su­gar

12ml wa­ter

Spice paste:

¼ tsp co­rian­der seeds

24g black pep­per­corns

18g gar­lic, peeled

10g gin­ger, peeled

70g but­ter

A few drops of wa­ter, if re­quired

1. Pre­pare the sweet pota­toes. Place sweet pota­toes in the jar, and pour in enough brine to cover the pota­toes. Place a clean small plate on top of mix­ture to keep pota­toes sub­merged.

2. Leave the pota­toes at room tem­per­a­ture to fer­ment for 2-3 weeks un­til pota­toes have soured to a pleas­ant acid­ity. Re­move pota­toes from brine and steam for 20- 60 mins till soft to the touch. 3. Strain the pota­toes to a fine con­sis­tency.

4. Make the noo­dles. Place 200g of the strained pota­toes in a bowl, and mix in the wa­ter un­til well com­bined. Sift all dry in­gre­di­ents to­gether, then add to the sweet potato mix­ture.

5. Mix and knead into a smooth dough. Roll into small balls 5-7g each. Place balls be­tween two sheets of parch­ment pa­per and roll them into thin sheets with a rolling pin. Steam each sheet for

3-4 mins. Set aside till needed. 6. Pre­pare the black pep­per sauce. Com­bine all the brown su­gar mix­ture in­gre­di­ents in a saucepan and whisk over low heat un­til the su­gar is dis­solved. Set aside. 7. Pre­pare the spice paste. Rinse co­rian­der and pep­per­corns, then crush in a mor­tar and pes­tle to a fine pow­der. Set aside. Next crush the gin­ger and gar­lic in the mor­tar and pes­tle into a paste. 8. In a fry­ing pan, lightly toast the ground co­rian­der and black pep­per till fra­grant. Add but­ter and heat till foam­ing, then add gar­lic and gin­ger mix­ture. Cook on low heat till fra­grant, about

5-8 mins.

9. Add the brown su­gar mix­ture and cook for a fur­ther 5 mins un­til the fat has sep­a­rated from the liq­uid. Re­move from heat and strain.

10. Now whisk the mix­ture un­til glossy, adding a few drops of wa­ter if nec­es­sary. Set aside. 11. Pre­pare the fish. Fil­let the grouper: re­move rib cage bones and cut fil­lets in half length­wise. (Set aside the skin for recipe above).

12. Place fish in brine: for about 15 mins for the bot­tom fil­let and

20 mins for the top fil­let. Rinse in cold wa­ter and chill in the fridge. 13. Be­fore serv­ing, re­move the fish from the fridge and rest it cov­ered on your kitchen work sur­face for roughly 15 mins. Cut the fish into 80g por­tions. 14. Steam grouper fil­let por­tions on high heat till they have reached an in­ter­nal tem­per­a­ture of 50˚C, or about 6-10 mins. Set fish aside to rest un­til in­ter­nal tem­per­a­ture has risen to 52˚C. 15. To as­sem­ble, place grouper on a plate. Driz­zle black pep­per sauce on the side. Place the noo­dle sheet on top of the grouper and gar­nish with torn wild pep­per leaves and chopped chives. Driz­zle the fish with a thin coat­ing of rape seed oil.

Trout, raisin & elder­berry Nordic-in­spired

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