The red snapper is one versatile fish. It can be cooked into a hot, sour and tangy curry with tamarind, spices and coconut milk, grilled to perfection with rosemary and thyme, pounded into a soup and served with crunchy croutons, or pan-seared and served with arugula, pine nuts and pecorino cheese as a salad. The exotic fish that boasts a reddish-pink hue and carries a white, textured and sweetish taste, is a sure-shot mood enhancer when served at social soirees or dinners.
Perhaps that’s what the chefs from ITC Gardenia, Bengaluru were thinking at the Boiling Point 2019, when they prepared to curate an exquisite dish called crispy red snapper with onion soy reduction, teriyaki glazed vegetables, yuzu cream and homshimiji mushrooms! Amidst all the fanfare that accompanies live kitchens, we managed to pull aside Sous Chef Amit Patra from Edo, the elegant Japanese restaurant at the hotel to decode the Japanese twist he was planning to give the red snapper.
Excerpts from the conversation…
What is unique about the fish being used?
We have sourced the red snapper from the Kerala backwaters. The scales and the skin of the fish have been retained to lend a textural element to the dish, by tempering it with hot oil that makes the scales crisp. In an attempt to curate a unique dish, we decided to utilize the entire fish to display its varied textures.
Why exactly are you using multiple ingredients while serving?
The bubu arare are Japanese rice crisps which have been incorporated along with the teriyaki glazed vegetables to provide a crunchy element. The benitade are small red micro greens which lend a spicy tinge and generally go well with grilled fish. The yuzu is a citrus fruit with a tart and sour flavour and is used extensively in Japanese and Korean cuisine. The yuzu cream was the fresh Japanese lime juice which we infused with cream to impart an acidic element to the dish.
How did the team curate the dish?
Seeking inspiration from the festival of the burning mountain ‘Wakakusa Yamayaki’, which is celebrated across the Nara region of Japan where the meats are spit-roasted in the fire of the burning mountain, I came with an idea of a dish where we used flash paper as a component to showcase the burning mountain and lend a smoky flavour to the fish.