I wanted to cook something Oriental. I had a yearning for something hot and spicy. My issue was I had two pieces of cod to cook. So I decided to try a little experiment and to cook something Oriental(ish). That is something using Oriental and Western ingredients cooked in a Western(ish) way. If the dish were a person, we would refer to it as being of mixed race. That is if it is currently politically correct (fashionable) to use such terms.
Now that you think I’m a racist, I’ll let you in on the ingredients for Cod and Oriental(ish) Sauce.
- 2 nice cod fillets (Western)
- 1 bag of spinach leaves (Western)
- 1 teaspoon of sugar (Western)
- 2 cloves of garlic (Western in this case. Used in all sorts of cooking, all over the place)
- 4 or 5 spring onions (Western in this case but used a lot in Oriental cooking)
- 1 red chili (Oriental)
- 3cm (1 inch) of ginger (Oriental)
- Noodles for 2 people (Bought in an Oriental supermarket. So Oriental.)
- A half tablespoon of sesame oil (Definitely Oriental)
- A few drops of hot chili oil (Also definitely Oriental – Look at the bottle for goodness sake)
- A few twists of Szechuan peppercorns (You know which these are.)
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce (As oriental as Dr. Fu Manchu).
Side note on Fu Manchu: Probably not my best Oriental reference point as the evil overlord, Dr. Fu Manchu, was played brilliantly by Westerner Christopher Lee in films during the 1960s. Well worth a look if the opportunity arises.
First, boil some water for the noodles. While this is going on, chop the ginger, garlic, chili and spring onions.
Fry these in a little oil until soft.
Add the soy sauce, sesame oil and chili oil.
Stir well and bring to a rolling boil.
Side note on sugar pouring: I got carried away with “getting the shot”. I had to spoon most of the sugar back out of the pan as the recipe only needs one teaspoon. I am an idiot!
Season the cod with the Szechuan pepper. Stir the pan and when the sugar has melted in, gently add the cod pieces. Turn the heat down to very low.
Place a lid on the pan and steam the cod for about 8 minutes. Steam the spinach and cook the noodles while this is going on.
Gently lift the now very delicate cod out of the sauce and serve it on a bed of noodles and spinach. Spoon some of the hot and spicy Oriental sauce over the fish.
If you are from the Orient, invite a Western friend over to share this delight. If you are Western, do share with a friend from the Orient. Do as I did, provide cutlery and chopsticks so nobody feels inadequate or unthought of when it comes to eating.