A drizzle of toasted sesame oil before steaming infuses whole sea bass with a nutty flavor, while a sauce of ginger, chili paste, and salty brown beans adds punch to this Chinese-Malaysian dish. See the recipe for Nian Nian Nyu Wee (Steamed Bass with Garlic Brown Bean Sauce) ». André Baranowski
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A drizzle of toasted sesame oil before steaming infuses whole sea bass with a nutty flavor, while a sauce of ginger, chili paste, and salty brown beans adds punch to this Chinese-Malaysian dish. This recipe first appeared in our May 2014 issue with the story Still Cooking.

Nian Nian Nyu Wee (Steamed Bass with Garlic Brown Bean Sauce) Nian Nian Nyu Wee (Steamed Bass with Garlic Brown Bean Sauce)
A drizzle of toasted sesame oil before steaming infuses whole sea bass with a nutty flavor, while a sauce of ginger, chili paste, and salty brown beans adds punch to this Chinese-Malaysian dish.
Yield: serves 2-4

Ingredients

  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1 (1″) piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 12 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 14 cup peanut oil
  • 5 tbsp. sugar
  • 3 tbsp. brown bean sauce, such as Koon Chun brand
  • 1 12 tbsp. sambal oelek (red chili paste)
  • 1 12 tbsp. shaoxing jiu (Chinese rice wine)
  • 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 (12–14 oz.) whole sea bass, cleaned and dried
  • 2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 8 sprigs cilantro
  • 2 scallions, julienned
  • 1 small carrot, julienned

Instructions

  1. Purée garlic, ginger, and onion in a small food processor into a paste. Heat oil in a 10” skillet over medium-high heat. Cook paste until golden and fragrant, 3–4 minutes. Add sugar, bean sauce, chili paste, rice wine, oyster sauce, and 5 tbsp. water; simmer until sugar is dissolved, 2–3 minutes, and set aside.
  2. Slice bass on either side of head, just above each fillet. Place bass skin side up on a heatproof platter splayed open so it lies upright; drizzle with sesame oil. Bring 1″ water to a boil in a 14″ flat-bottom wok fitted with an 11″ bamboo steamer. Place platter with bass in steamer base and cover; steam until cooked through, 12–15 minutes. Remove platter. Pour reserved sauce over fish; garnish with cilantro, scallions, and carrot.

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