Monday, May 17, 2010

Dine In Challenge Day 7

This is the official last day of in my Dine In Challenge.  I had same breakfast, left over dumplings and salad for lunch. However, I wanted to cook something special to celebrate my last meal.

When I went back to Taiwan two years ago, my parents introduced me to this famous restaurant that was famous for their Salt Baked Fish.  Asians love their fresh fish, and they love eating then in their purest form: raw or steamed.  I suppose salt baking in the a creative twist on steaming: steam the fish in their natural environment.  When the fish (expensive) arrived at the table, the server ceremoniously unwrapped the tin foil and removed the bed of salt covering the fish.  He served the fish with a light ponzu sauce.   The fish was okay.  Yes it was moist and fresh, but nothing exciting.  My parents, being my parents, decided to use this opportunity to start a sermon about the how people ought to eat fish this way.

I have always wondered: how hard is it to salt bake my own fish? So I decided to put it try it out. First I needed a lot of salt, a whole fish (trout), and a binding agent... hm egg replacer! The theory behind salt baked fish was to steam the fish inside the salt.  Since salt does not melt or evaporate, I really don't see the point of salt baking in terms of enhancing the flavour.  I suppose that was the whole point: eating fish at its purest form. I do like my fish in its purest form with some more flavours.  I added a little bit of ground coriander seed, clove, and star anise to the salt crust.

Handling salt crust was similar to handling that blue corn meal two days ago.  It seems to stick but not glutenous. I wrapped the fish in salt and threw it into the oven.  Then I dawn on me that I have no idea how long it should cook.  Let's try 30 minutes.

The aroma of baked salt was filled the kitchen. It was a beautiful intensified fish aroma.  I sticked the meat thermometer into the fish crust and 30 minutes was too long. Skin peeled off easily and the flesh came off the bones. The fish tasted like overcooked fish.  I think I didn't put enough spice either.  I think I need a different fish too. Again, the whole experience was rather anti-climatic.  However, this was probably fish at the lowest calorie.

The fish was very crumbly.

By Day 5, I dropped two pounds, without any exercise.  I believe I have my light carb-less dinner to thank for the weight loss.  Dining in is challenging when I tried to plan nights out with friends, usually people default to meeting at restaurants and pubs.  Packing nutritious lunch is also pretty hard.  Thankfully, I have a lot of leftovers, but I do wonder how other people manage their lunch on workdays.   Because my weightless is going so well, I am going to stick to dining in as much as I can, unless when it is logistically impractical.  Let's see how long I can go without eating out.

Do you guys want me to keep taking pictures of things I make?

1 comment:

  1. Pictures: Yes
    The idea of a bed of salt just doesn't click with me. Look at the amount of salt wasted; I'm assuming the salt can't be reused after this.
    And whats the point of having so much salt when the fish isn't suppose to absorb any of the saltiness.