Friday, August 3, 2018

Instant Pot Caramelized Fish Sauce-glazed (Frozen) Cod w/ Baby Bok Choy and Jasmine Rice

I was recently given an 8 Quart Instant Pot for my birthday (thanks, babe!) and have started exploring IP recipes and cooking techniques. I started out simply by making this IP Honey-Garlic Chicken. It was delicious and yielded plenty of extra sauce to pour over plain chicken for lunches for the rest of the week.

After my initial excursion, I was looking for a recipe that I could make pretty quickly with ingredients I had on-hand, including some frozen cod fillets that I wanted to use up. I came across this fantastic recipe for Caramelized Halibut with Bok Choy from Williams-Sonoma, which I then modified to use in the Instant Pot.  The modified recipe is included below. Enjoy!

3 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp water
1/3 c. Asian fish sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp oil (peanut oil is common in many Asian recipes, but any light-colored oil will do)
3 shallots or 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger or ginger paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 dried shitake mushrooms (or skip this and use chicken or fish stock instead of the 1 1/2-2 c. water--somehow I was out of chicken stock when I made this recipe, but this modification worked beautifully!)
1 1/2-2 c. water (depending on the size of your IP!)
4 halibut or cod fillets, about 1 1/2 lb. total, each 1 inch thick - FROZEN IS FINE!
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 lb. bok choy, quartered lengthwise, or whole baby bok choy
Steamed jasmine rice for serving


For sauce: In a small bowl, stir together 3 Tbsp water, fish sauce and soy sauce. 

In a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and the room-temperature water and stir until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high, stop stirring and swirl the pan until the sugar syrup turns light amber, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully pour the fish sauce mixture into the syrup. It will bubble and spatter. Stir until the bubbling subsides. Set aside. 

Add the inner pot to the IP and turn to "Saute."  Once it is hot, add the oil and let heat for 30 seconds. Add the shallots (or red onion), ginger, and garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the steamer basket and enough water to come just below the basket.

Line the steamer basket with bok choy or baby bok choy (I halved my baby bok choy, and they were a little overcooked--that's why I recommend including them whole), then place the whole, frozen fish fillets on top of the bok choy*.  Pressure cook for 3 minutes, then QPR.

Transfer the fish and bok choy to a platter or individual bowls and spoon sauce over top.  Serve with steamed jasmine rice. 

The cooking liquid from the pot makes a great quick soup (toss in any extra rice and fish you might have) or can be used to cook rice/pasta/couscous later in the week. Leftover caramelized sauce can also be saved to top plain chicken or fish later in the week as well.

*Because of my inexperience with the IP, I steamed the frozen fish above the braising liquid and poured the caramelized fish sauce mixture over top during plating. Next time I might try adding the fish sauce mixture directly into the IP with the rest of the aromatics and braising the fish directly in the liquid, like the original recipe calls for.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Asian, by Farina Wong Kingsley (Oxmoor House, 2007).

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