Every day may not be good… but there’s something good in every day.
Moi, or Pacific threadfin, was once considered the fish of royalty, and centuries ago, only royalty were allowed to eat it. Nowadays, it’s still thought of as a delicacy. Flaky and mild flavored, this white-fleshed, silver-and-black-striped fish is an island favorite. Steaming it Chinese-style is a great way to serve it. If you can’t find Moi, look for a mild, white fleshed fish.
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- ¼ cup soy sauce (shoyu)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 Hawaiian chili pepper (nīoi), thinly sliced (optional)
- One 2-pound whole moi or other mild, white-fleshed fish, cleaned
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 green onions, green parts only, cut into 2-inch lengths
- One 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced crosswise into coins, plus one 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 2 tablespoons sake
- 2 tablespoons macadamia nut oil
- 2 cups steamed rice, for serving
In a small bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, and chili pepper (if using). Set aside.
Using a paring knife, cut three or four 1-inch slits on each side of the fish through the skin to the bone. Pat the fish dry with paper towels and generously season the fish, inside and out, with salt and black pepper. Insert 1 piece of green onion and 1 coin of ginger into each slit and stuff the fish with half of the remaining ginger coins, one-third of the remaining green onions, and one-third of the cilantro. Lay out half the remaining cilantro, the rest of the ginger coins, and half the remaining green onions on the bottom of a steamer basket to create a bed for the fish to rest on. Chop the remaining cilantro leaves and stems and set aside. Place the fish on the bed of aromatics.
In a large pot with the lid on, bring 2 inches of water to boil over high heat. Set the steamer basket in the pot and turn the heat to low, keeping the water at a simmer. Pour the sake over the fish and immediately cover the pot with the lid. Steam until the flesh is opaque and easily flakes, 16 to 20 minutes. Remove the aromatics from the fish and discard. Place the fish on a platter.
In a small saucepan, heat the macadamia nut oil over high heat just until it starts to sizzle. Pour it all over the fish. Add the soy sauce mixture to the saucepan and heat over high heat until hot, less than 1 minute. Pour the sauce over the fish and top with the remaining green onions, chopped cilantro, and julienned ginger. Serve with bowls of steamed rice.