Renowned Indian-American chef Floyd Cardoz is a master inventor of delicious, vibrant dining experiences. With a restaurant (or two) always in the works, we’re surprised he had time to pen his latest cookbook, Flavorwalla — “flavor seller” in Hindi. Need we say more? Buy the man’s flavor book and whip up his simple, seasonal fare at home.
For this steamed fish dish, don’t use a steamer that has a perforated or otherwise unsealed bottom. You want to preserve all the delicious liquid that the fish and vegetables give off during cooking, and steamers that are perforated or have slatted bottoms would let it all escape.
I like to serve this Chinese-style with the fish, vegetables, and liquid in one bowl and the steamed rice in another bowl, so you can use chopsticks to add as much rice to each bite as you like. Jasmine rice, sticky rice, and basmati rice are all very nice with this. I use a bottle of Sriracha sauce, too, for anyone who wants to add a little kick. If you can’t find good, fresh red snapper, use sea bass, sole, fluke or flounder in its place.
- 2 6-ounce thin skin-on red snapper fillets
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon salted butter, softened
- 1/2 small carrot, sliced into matchsticks (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger matchsticks (peel before slicing)
- 1/2 serrano chile, cut into thin slices
- Leaves and tender stems from 4 washed and dried cilantro sprigs (see note), leaves left whole and stems sliced on the bias
- 1 scallion (white and green parts), thinly sliced on the bias
- 1/2 cup mung bean sprouts
- Steamed rice for serving
For the snapper
Prepare your steamer: Have ready a deep wok or pot with a tight-fitting lid and a glass pie plate or shallow baking dish that fits inside the wok. Place a few upside-down ramekins, an inverted bamboo steamer, or the perforated insert of a pressure cooker in the wok to hold the pie plate above the bottom of the pot and allow the steam to circulate.
Season the fish with salt and pepper. Brush the fillets on both sides with the butter. Lay the fish skin-side up in the baking dish and sprinkle the carrots, ginger, chile, cilantro, and scallions on top.
Bring 2 inches of water to a simmer in the wok. Place the baking dish on top of the ramekins, cover the pan, and steam until there is no resistance when the fish is pierced with a very thin roasting fork, about 8 minutes. Remove the steamer from the heat.
Alternatively, you can steam the fish in the oven: Place each fillet on a large sheet of aluminum foil or parchment and top it with its share of aromatics. Seal each package tightly and bake in a 350°F oven for about 12 minutes.
Divide the mung bean sprouts between two warmed bowls. Place a fillet on top of each and spoon the vegetables and juices on top. Divide the steamed rice between two warmed bowls. Serve.