RECIPES THE GLOBAL NATIVE
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 sugar For the pickling liquid
250ml Japanese rice vinegar
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)
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
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,
A small handful torch ginger,
A small handful dill fronds Ground black pepper, to taste A small handful green mango,
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
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
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
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
¼ tsp coriander seeds
24g black peppercorns
18g garlic, peeled
10g ginger, peeled
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
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