breaking the chains.

Cleaning up my phone I found this mysterious picture: I know what it is but not why there would be a picture of it.

As a break from the wattle-gazing that's going on around here, it's convenient that this is also a food blog. It's no secret that I/we seem to be growing ever more in love with pickled things over the years, probably because our tastebuds are getting old and saggy, but whatever the cause, I found another new pickle that, while it's a lot of chopping, and a little frying, and kind of feels like a bit of work while you're doing it, and boy are these a lot of commas, etc: then it sits in the fridge for 24 hours and your aged-ass moth-eaten brain has almost entirely forgotten about the prep work by then. Suddenly you're all, "Crikey, who left this bright yellow incredibly healthy-looking Nyonya/Malaysian fish pickle in my icebox? I shall bite into it right now", etc.

It's really, realllly good. One of the more obviously restaurant-quality Asian things I can make, which is interesting (to me) because there are so few ingredients. It really is the Nyonya/Malaysian version of this, so if you do it right it's another perfect treatment for oilier fishies. The post-cooking marination does something extremely complementary (and complimentary, but more the former) to the texture of this particular fish.

Which is not the fish that the original recipe calls for, which I got from here, obviously my version is totally inauthentic, I'm using dirt-cheap (but sustainably fished!) Alaskan salmon, and I didn't technically "deep-fry" anything. And some more different colors would be a good idea (adding the green chiles for example), and then check out their sprinkle of sesame seeds, which every recipe I saw included. Tragically I didn't have any so I can't comment. I left the chile peppers cut big so I could choose spicy or non-spicy bites. And I added black pepper b/c turmeric needs it in order to be bioavailable or something scientific like that.


nyonya fish pickle. 

500g wild salmon or mackerel
olive or coconut oil for frying

5 tbsp olive or coconut oil
20g fresh turmeric (three pinky-sized pieces), peeled and julienned
50g fresh ginger (the standard "2-inch long piece"), peeled and julienned
30g garlic (ended up being about 5 cloves), peeled and etc
2 green Holland chiles
2 red Holland chiles
5 tbsp (or slightly less) raw sugar (I used one disk of palm sugar b/c that's all I had, HOW FUCKING GOURMET AM I BITCHESSSS)
1 tsp salt
freshly cracked black pepper to taste
200ml white vinegar
1 tsp white sesame seed or even a drizzle of tahini, I know it sounds weird but it worked for me


Fry the fish in as little oil as you can to be able to call it frying. I cooked my filets 3 minutes per side and, while that doesn't sound like much, and it's true they were "just cooked" when I took them off, they kept cooking while they rested, and then the very vinegar-centric soaking finished whatever needed finishing. They were pretty perfect 24 hours later.

I can't remember if I wiped the pan out here, it could've gone either way. Let's say I did. Then you add the 5 tbsp of oil and fry the turmeric until it's lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes. Remove it and then do the ginger and garlic together, which I normally wouldn't do b/c ginger always seems to take a little longer, but again it worked perfectly, about 5 minutes, don't burn your garlic. Remove the ginger and garlic and then do the chiles.

And then put the oil and whatever's in the pan into a pickling jar or sealable glass bowl and let it cool. Then add sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper and combine with the fish pieces and rhizomes and chiles and whatnot. Something like that, I did whatever the original recipe told me to do. Cover/seal and put in the fridge for 24 hours.


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