I love the fact that we have beautiful seafood where we live in the Algarve and that it is so very affordable too. In Malaysia, where I come from, eating fresh fish on a regular basis would be a luxury. While I really enjoy a very simple grilled fish with nothing but good Portuguese olive oil and flor de sal, I also want to show you the Asian way to do a good fillet of fish.
One of my favourite local fish is dourada or golden bream. It is very versatile and I have prepared a grill, steam, bake, pan fry and even soup with it! You can find it just about anywhere, from the markets to the supermarkets, and I always ask my fishmonger if he can fillet it for me when I’m doing this particular dish. I hope you try this recipe!
- 1 fillet of dourada
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 clove of minced garlic
- 1–2 fresh piri piri finely chopped
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- ½ tsp soy sauce
- Pinch of brown sugar
Let’s begin with the dressing – which you can always make ahead of time. Heat up your vegetable oil in a little pan and add your minced garlic and chopped piri piri into the pot. Feel free to eliminate the piri piri here if you prefer a non-spicy serving.
Once your garlic is golden add the oyster sauce, soy sauce and sugar. Now turn off the gas, the sauce should lightly bubble from the residual heat.
Heat up a frying pan with a little bit of vegetable oil. Pat dry your fillet of fish. Once your pan is nice and hot, place your fillet skin side down into the pan. Give it 5–6 minutes skin side down – take a peek if you must at the 4-minute mark. The skin should be nice and golden crispy brown. Flip the fish over, giving it 2 more minutes on the flesh side down and then remove from the pan.
Serve with steamed rice, and soy dressing on the side. I love a bit of coriander on the top too and for a textural element some fried garlic or shallots. Super easy and super yummy!
For a vegetable side, quickly brown one clove of garlic in some vegetable oil, then add a cup of chopped cabbage and a teaspoon of fish sauce. Stir fry until the vegetables are lightly softened and the fish sauce is caramelised – you’ll know when you smell the aromas wafting around your kitchen. Serve on the side with your dourada dish.
Joy Entry is a Malaysian home cook based in Lagos who is obsessed with the provocative, unapologetic flavours of South-East Asian cuisine