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Fish on Nested Potatoes October 19, 2007


Now, I don't even have to ask Aklay before-hand what to bring. I bring whatever, and like the chefs of the tv series, Iron Chef, he whips up an interesting dish with whatever he has in his kitchen.

I would have brought in chicken, but it was frozen. The choices were large-mouth bass (which we already had last week) or the super-sized milkfish (bangus). I got excited over the bangus, realizing later that I don't really like bangus because it's boney. Even Aklay wasn't too excited about it. He wasn't a big fan of boney fish either. But hey, it was already there!

He sizes up what other ingredients he has and explained that we will create a crunchy nest out of the potatoes while cooking the fish on top.

  • whole fish (we used bangus, but lapu-lapu sounds better)
  • 1 kilo potatoes
  • 1 small cabbage
  • 3 carrots
  • 4 onions
  • 2 bulbs garlic
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • watercress (optional)
  • salt and pepper

Cooking Process
Slice the potatoes as thin as possible. Wash in lots of water until the water turns white. Discard water and wash again. Repeat until the water is clear. Strain.

Heat the oil and butter on high until the edge browns a little. Spread the potatoes on the wok forming a nest or mattress. Just when the smoke begins to darken, lower the heat and spread the rest of the vegetables on top. Then put the fish on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, put the heat on high for about 10 seconds and then put the cover on. Turn heat to medium. Leave for 15 minutes. Add watercress, sprinkle salt, and put the cover back. Turn heat to high for 10 seconds and then to medium. Cook for another 5 minutes. Uncover, turn heat high for 10 seconds again and turn heat off. Leave uncovered.

Take the fish out and serve in separate platter. Toss the vegetables together, scraping the potatoes from the bottom of the wok with a spatula. Potatoes should be crunchy. Bon appetite!

This dish came out really well. The crunchy potatoes mixed with steamed vegetables and steamed fish had an interesting texture. Likewise, the drippings of the fish all over the vegetables added more flavor. If we used salt-water fish like lapu-lapu (grouper), it would have been a more interesting meal.

--- TheLoneRider

    Aklay Tips:
  • The stage when the potatoes are spread out to form a nest is crucial. The heat should be high. If the heat is too low, the potatoes will boil. If the heat is too hot and left too long, it will burn.
  • Turning the heat to high for 10 seconds is essential in restoring the cooking temperature when the lid is opened to add another ingredient.
  • Washing the potatoes is important. This removes the coating of starch and prevents sticking. As a general rule, when you fry potatoes, you wash it to prevent sticking. When you boil potatoes, for soup, do not wash it. The starch will add flavor and texture to the soup.
  • While the potatoes fry, its steam is the one cooking the vegetables and the fish on top.
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