Crispy Snapper Fillet with Asam Granita

crispy fillet with Asam granita 2crispy fillet with Asam granita 1

My wife made a sweet granita dessert after attending a cooking class which was really good, so the idea of creating a dish with granita stuck with me for some time. I was craving for Asam pedas fish one of those days and it seemed like a great chance to make a Asam pedas granita. Result? One of those dishes that are just fun to eat. Full of contrasting flavors and textures.

Ingredients (Serves 2-4 as a starter to share)

  • 300g of snapper belly fillet
  • 150g of Asam paste (it comes in a packet with seeds)
  • Blachan powder
  • 2 large red chilies
  • 2 small red chilies
  • 2 medium red onions
  • 4 shallots
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 knob (1/2 thumb size) of ginger
  • 1 stick of lemongrass
  • Japanese or Korean Breadcrumbs
  • Salt, black pepper and sugar
  • Small segment of pineapple for garnish

Getting it done! (Asam Granita)

  1. Remove the seeds from the red chilies and roughly dice (if you like more heat, leave the seeds in)
  2. Roughly dice the onions, shallots and ginger as well
  3. Finely slice the lemongrass after removing a small segment of the root, the tip and the first 1-2 layers
  4. Add the lemongrass, chilies, onions, shallots, garlic and ginger into a blender
  5. Add 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil and start blending at low speed until you get a paste
  6. Soak the Asam paste in 2 measuring cups of water and use your palms to separate the Asam flesh from the seeds
  7. Take your time to do this, the water will gradually become thicker
  8. Strain the mixture to remove the seeds and set aside
  9. To a heavy bottom pot, over a high heat, add 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  10. When the oil starts to smoke, turn the heat to low before adding the paste
  11. Stir continuously for 2-3 minutes first, add 2 teaspoons of blachan powder, then stir every 1-2 minutes for the next 10-12 minutes to make sure that the paste does not burn
  12. When the paste has become drier and darker in color (it will be extremely fragrant), add the Asam water, stir well and bring to a boil over high heat
  13. Then add 1.5 teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt as a start
  14. Stir, taste and keep adjusting the sugar and salt in small amounts until you are happy with the taste accordingly (For me, it usually come up to 3 teaspoons of sugar and 1/3 teaspoon of salt)
  15. TIP: Make sure that the taste is slightly stronger than what you would normally want as the flavors become more dull during the freezing process
  16. Once ready, set aside to cool completely before placing in any freezer proof container with a large surface and place into the freezer
  17. Allow the mixture to freeze completely (if you can, do this the night before so that you really allow the freezing to happen)
  18. Use a sturdy fork and ‘scratch’ the frozen mixture to get granita then place in individual serving containers and set aside in the freezer
  19. Done!

Getting it done! (Crispy Breaded Snapper Fillet)

  1. Prepare the fish last. Make sure that the fillet is still pipping hot when you serve so that it contrasts with the icy granita
  2. Over a low to medium heat, in a heavy bottom pan, heat up 4-6cm depth of oil to 180 Celsius (or until you see bubbles quickly emerging when you dip a wooden chopstick)
  3. TIP: For deep frying, I like to use Canola oil as the smoking point is relatively high and the oil has lighter smell and flavor
  4. Slice the fillet into slices no more than 1 finger thick and season each slice on both sides with salt and pepper
  5. Prepare corn flour, beaten egg and Japanese breadcrumbs into 3 separate plates
  6. Coat each piece in the flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs (always in that order when you are deep frying something coated with breadcrumbs) and set aside
  7. When the oil is heated, gently put each piece of fish, using chopsticks, into the pan and fry until golden brown
  8. TIP: When deep frying, hold the fish in the oil, without touching the bottom, for 5 seconds before letting the whole piece into the oil. This will prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan
  9. The fish will take between 6-9 minutes depending on the temperature of the oil
  10. Drain the excess oil on kitchen towel and quickly place on a drying rack. Do not leave the fillet lying on the kitchen towel as it will get soggy.
  11. Done!
  12. Serve the breaded fish slices with a generous spoonful of granita and topped off with finely diced pineapples

 

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