Fusion Cuisine: Asian Style Halibut with Sesame-Hoisin Glaze and Citrus Bok Choy Salad

One of the benefits of living in South-East Asia is the availability of a diverse range of spices, herbs and sauces fit for every palate. Ranging from sweet to sour to nutty to spicy, their presence makes experimenting with food even more challenging. Some minds may wander now thinking that should make cooking easier, that is true if you were to stick to only one or two of the ingredients. However, our creative brain is put to test once we decide to come up with a recipe using more than two or three spices and sauces. Not every spice will complement every sauce, the varying depth of these Asian ingredients makes it tough to come up with a winning combination. But at the end the joys of trial and error can never be substituted. To me, that is the enjoyable part of cooking but of course it does include frustration when the taste is not to my palate. However, that should not stop any of us from trying again. Whenever a mix of a few ingredients makes sense in your head, always write them down to try at a later stage.

Asian Style Halibut with Sesame-Hoisin Glaze and Citrus Bok Choy Salad

That is exactly what I did when I opted to make halibut for dinner again. After having read up on the health benefits of eating fish, I am trying to make it a point to cook fish at least once a week. Having eaten it coated with breadcrumbs or parmesan earlier, it was time for me to think of something different. My mind wandered towards using Asian spices and sauces to make a light glaze, hence every time I thought of an ingredient, I wrote it down until I came up with the perfect glaze. However, the process of choosing ingredients is never over till you actually start cooking. I found my star ingredient, 5 spice powder, just before finishing up my marinade, which earlier I had thought was just right, but did not realize it could be even better by adding the missing ingredient. The journey of discovery is constant, at the end the only thing that matters is how successful was the creative genius of the brain.

Asian Style Halibut with Sesame-Hoisin Glaze and Citrus Bok Choy Salad

Ingredients

For the Fish:

  • 6 Halibut fillets (or any other fish)
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 tsp 5 spice powder
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt

For the Sesame-Hoisin Glaze:

  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp cooking rice wine
  • 2 tbsp sweet soy sauce
  • 1 tsp white pepper

For the Citrus Bok Choy Salad:

  • Baby bok choy
  • Long green beans
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation

For the Fish:

  • Whisk all the ingredients for the marinade together in a bowl till smooth
  • Pour over the halibut fillets, covering each piece thoroughly
  • Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours
  • Once ready to cook, glaze the pan with sesame oil. When the oil starts to heat up, place the fillets to lightly pan fry
  • Lower the heat and cook the fillets for 4 minutes on each side till the fish becomes opaque and begins to flake off easily
  • Transfer on kitchen towels to soak off the excess oil
  • Pour the glaze over the fish before serving

For the Sesame-Hoisin Glaze:

  • Mix together the sauces and spices in a bowl before transferring into a saucepan
  • On very low heat, let the sauce simmer, stirring at intervals to prevent it from sticking to the bottom. It should be thin and runny
  • Once the sauce has reduced by half, switch off the heat
  • Pour the glaze over the fish while it is still hot

For the Citrus Bok Choy Salad:

  • Boil the green beans in salted water for about 10 minutes and then blanch in ice cold water
  • Dry them completely and mix with the baby bok choy
  • Add the lemon juice, garlic paste, salt and pepper and toss together. Add more lemon juice if the dressing is not tart enough
  • Serve with the fish

Asian Style Halibut with Sesame-Hoisin Glaze and Citrus Bok Choy Salad

The flavors of the glaze along with the baby bok choy give this dish a very nutty flavor. The sweetness of the hoisin sauce is balanced by the pungent aroma of the sesame oil. The light salad complements the Asian flavors of the fish, making it a wholesome meal. For the fish it is imperative that it is moist and soft after being pan-fried, hence the trick is to leave it marinated for a while for it to soak all the juices in and also not to be over cooked in the pan. It should simply melt in your mouth with the first bite.

Asian Style Halibut with Sesame-Hoisin Glaze and Citrus Bok Choy Salad