Not-so-creamy Coleslaw and Crispy Baked Fish
Hi gang, it’s Sunday night. In England that’s normally when families gather for Sunday roast. But since we’re not in England, we’re also without the mash and peas, the meat, and “pudding” (that endearing English name for dessert – no wonder rice pudding has such ratings over the pond), we are using the oven for lunch next week. There’s also fish, but it’s not soaked in oil or so smelly that you’re afraid of eating in it the staff room.
This week, we’re making oven-baked fish and coleslaw – but there’s a twist to both! There’s yogurt in the fish, and no mayonaise in the coleslaw … Can it be?
It actually began with an accident. Half-way through the prep, I realized I didn’t have any eggs with which to bread the fish. Typically, breading fish is an in-and-out technique where the fish dips into seasoned flour, out into an egg mixture, and back into breadcrumbs before being cooked up. But alas, no eggs.
“Tiff. Quick,” I texted my sister. “What can I use as substitutes to eggs if I am breading fish?” Surprisingly, she suggested using orange juice. But seeing I was making fish, I wasn’t too keen on using fruit juice as a coating layer. Plus, neither do I have OJ in the fridge. What kind of cook am I? The kind that makes weekday lunches on a Sunday afternoon.
In the end, we deferred to Google. If you must, you must. Not that I have anything against this amazing engine. It’s not just the engine who could – it’s the engine that just did. In 0.21 seconds. And not only did I find egg substitutes, I also learned that this important stage in breading serves two purposes: to let the breadcrumbs stick, and to moisten the fish. So what else can we use to add moistness to the fish? Yogurt! In the end, I prefer yogurt because it definitely keeps the fish nicely plump even after coming out of the oven. Sometimes you get overcooked baked fish with crusty edges when breading with eggs, but yogurt really seals the moisture in.
So, voila. Here we have egg-free breaded fish.
As for the coleslaw, I tossed the cabbage in rice vinegar and sesame oil. Tangy and fresh instead of creamy and comforting – maybe this is a coleslaw for spring? As I reached for the rice vinegar, I realized it was the bottle my housemate left for me when we parted ways. “You’re Asian, so you probably have better use for this than me,” she kidded around. She being an Irish-American-Canadian gal, I’ve learned a thing or two from her about making potatoes proper. “Sure, why not,” I said, and took it with me. I should probably share this recipe with her now, come to think of it!
Not-so-creamy Coleslaw Recipe
- 2 cups slivered napa cabbage
- 1 cup carrots, julienned
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced finely (optional)
- 1 tbsp slivered coriander
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp fish dipping sauce (found in Asian grocery stores)
- Combine cabbage, carrots, and coriander in a large bowl.
- Whisk the rice vinegar, sesame oil, lime juice and fish sauce together in another bowl.
- Sprinkle the dressing in the vegetables and toss to coat.
Crispy Baked Fish made with Yogurt
- 1 lb of haddock or tilapia (firm white fish), cut into 4″ pieces
- 1/2 cup flour seasoned with salt, pepper, and thyme
- 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
- salt, pepper and thyme to taste
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 450ºC and line a baking pan with aluminum foil.
- Prepare the yogurt by mixing in the lemon juice until incorporated.
- Add salt, pepper and thyme to the bread crumbs and set aside in a shallow dish.
- Pat the fish dry with paper towels. Dip fish in the seasoned flour, shake off the excess, dip it in the yogurt, remove the excess with a dull knife, and coat both sides in the dish of bread crumbs.
- Bake the fish uncovered for 10-13 minutes, or until the fish flakes with a fork.