Tuesday, June 4, 2024



Chinese language bamboo steamer in my Spanish kitchen.

Look what I’ve obtained! A Chinese language bamboo steamer, inherited from a buddy. I’ve by no means used one earlier than. Steaming meals isn’t a factor in Spanish cooking. 

Trying to find concepts, I pulled out the one Chinese language cookbook in my assortment, The Thousand Recipe Chinese language Cookbook by Gloria Bley Miller (Grosset & Dunlap; 1970). In addition to a helpful how-to part, I discovered a lot of recipes for steamed meals. Considered one of them kind of clicked, as a result of it sounded so Spanish—steamed fishballs. The recipe requires Sherry, however no soy sauce. With only some diversifications, I turned it right into a Spanish dish worthy of any tapa bar. 

Steaming makes very moist and delicate fishballs, so it’s an ideal approach for lean and flaky white fish similar to sole or hake. I used (recent) cod (which involves Spain by air from Norway). The fish isn’t minced, however hand-cut into skinny, brief strips, so the balls have texture. I’ve added shrimp to each the fishballs and the sauce. 

Fish balls on two tiers prepare dinner over simmering water in a coated bamboo steamer.

Steamed fishballs, prepared for plating. They’re made with cod and shrimp, Sherry, mushrooms, serrano ham, pink bell pepper, parsley.

Fishballs are served with sauce of shrimp inventory and sherry with a number of shrimp.

Steamed spinach goes properly with the sherried fishballs.

A 3- or four-tiered steamer, of bamboo or stainless-steel, is ideal for cooking a number of meals at one time. In case you don’t have a steamer, improvise with a heatproof colander or a shallow bowl set on high of an inverted cup within the backside of a lidded pot. If utilizing a bamboo steamer, to forestall meals from sticking to the slats, line the steamer baskets with leaves, similar to cabbage, lettuce or grape, or minimize a disk of baking parchment and poke holes in it for steam to move via. 

Use a pan/skillet/wok huge sufficient to set the steamer in. Add water to the pan so it simply comes as much as the underside rim of the steamer. Don’t let water into the basket the place meals are positioned. Convey the water to a full boil, flip warmth all the way down to a simmer, place the steamer with lid within the water, and permit the meals to steam. The fishballs want 8 to 10 minutes. You might have to take away the lid and take one out to check it. For longer steaming, replenish with scorching water so the pan by no means cooks dry. 

Steamer for greens too.

A steamer, after all, is nice for merely steaming greens. I cooked a bunch of recent spinach in it to go together with the fishballs. If meals to be steamed embody marinades, sauce components, oil, place them in a shallow bowl and set the bowl within the steamer. 

The recipe for fishballs within the Chinese language cookbook requires dried black mushrooms, smoked ham, bamboo shoots, Chinese language cabbage and ginger root. I’ve substituted dried níscalos (Lactarius deliciosus), serrano ham, pink bell pepper and chopped parsley. I used olive oil to make the shrimp inventory, including a decidedly Spanish contact to the fishballs.

Steamed Fish and Shrimp Balls with Sherry Sauce

Albóndigas de Pescado y Gambas al Vapor, con Salsa al Jerez 

Sherry, Spanish ham to taste fishballs.

Makes about 22 (1 ½-inch) balls

For the shrimp inventory:

8 ounces small entire shrimp

Fish bones and trimmings (optionally available)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 slice onion

1 clove garlic

4 cups water

½ teaspoon salt

1 bay leaf

For the fish balls:

¼ cup dried mushrooms

1 pound skinless cod fillet

1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon dry Sherry

1 egg white

¼ cup finely chopped parsley

¼ cup chopped pink bell pepper

¼ cup chopped serrano ham

½ teaspoon salt

Freshly floor black pepper

Leaves or baking parchment to line steamer

For the sauce:

1 cup shrimp inventory

3 tablespoons dry Sherry

1 tablespoon cornstarch

3 tablespoons water


Chopped parsley 

Use shrimp heads, shells for inventory.

For the shrimp inventory:

Shell the shrimp, saving the heads and shells. Refrigerate the shelled shrimp. Warmth the oil in a pan. Add the heads and shells, the slice of onion and the clove of garlic, flippantly crushed. Fry the shells for two minutes. Add the water, salt and bay leaf. Convey to a boil, simmer 20 minutes, till liquid is decreased by half. Pressure the inventory and reserve it. Discard the solids. (Just one cup of the shrimp inventory is required for the sauce. Save the rest for one more use.)

Make the fish balls

Cowl the dried mushrooms with scorching water. Soak them for 10 minutes (or based on instructions on the bundle). Drain the mushrooms (the water might be added to the shrimp inventory). Chop them finely.

Reduce fish in slivers; chop shrimp.

Slice the cod very thinly, then chop or sliver it. Put aside a few of the shrimp to make use of within the sauce. Chop the remaining shrimp. In a mixing bowl, mix the cornstarch, Sherry and egg white. Add the cod and shrimp and stir to combine effectively. Add the parsley, mushrooms, pink pepper, ham, salt and pepper. Mix effectively. 

Line bamboo steamer baskets with strips of cabbage leaves or a circle of parchment paper. (If utilizing the parchment, poke holes in it with a skewer so steam can rise.) 

Type balls by hand.

The fish combination can be fairly squishy. Make walnut-sized balls of it by urgent within the palm of the hand. Place them within the steamer baskets about an inch aside. Stack two or extra tiers, as obligatory. Add sufficient water to the big pan or wok to come back as much as the underside rim of the steamer basket. Place on excessive warmth and convey the water to a boil. Cut back the warmth so the water simmers. Place the steamer within the pan of water and canopy the steamer with the lid.

Steam the fishballs till they’re agency, 8 to 10 minutes. (Take away the lid and take out a fishball to check it for doneness.) Take away the steamer from the warmth. Take away the lid to launch the steam. Utilizing protecting gloves, elevate the steamer out of the pan of scorching water. 

Steamer basket is lined with baking parchment that has been perforated so steam can rise. The opposite basket is lined with items of cabbage leaves. 

For the sauce

Warmth the shrimp inventory with the Sherry till the alcohol has cooked off, 2 minutes. In a small bowl, stir collectively the cornstarch and water. Whisk the cornstarch into the shrimp inventory and prepare dinner, stirring, till the sauce thickens. Take away from warmth and add the reserved shrimp. Stir within the reserved chopped parsley.

Serve the fish balls with the Sherry sauce. 

Fishballs with Sherry/shrimp sauce.

Listed below are some extra sauces that might complement the steamed fishballs: 

Not Spanish, not Chinese language, I’ll slather these leftover fishballs with some creamy horseradish sauce. 



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