Miso Cod

So I’ve been on a nomadic marketing journey because my regular market in Whampoa is under renovation. The last time Whampoa market was closed it was under rather unfortunate circumstances as there was a Covid-19 cluster among the stall holders. I think the market was closed for 2-3 weeks only but I was already rather distressed as I couldn’t find my favorite wet market staples.

The nomadic wandering took me to Tekka market which traumatized me – the vegetables were not that fresh and the market was rather hard to navigate. The one think I liked about Tekka market was the fact that it had freshly grated coconut which sent me off into making lots of rendang and coconut desserts. But in the end I didn’t go back to Tekka market because I found it rather bewildering.

The next market I tried was Pek Kio market which was a small little market with most of the essentials but the range was even more limited than Tekka market. Prices were good however as the market serves a clientele that is older. In fact I watched quite a lot of old folks buying just a bunch of vegetables at a time; they were obviously only buying what they needed for the day…completely opposite from what I was doing which was buying enough to last the week.

So with the 2 month closure of Whampoa market this time I was a little distressed. Over the years I have struck up friendships with different stall holders who already know what I want the moment I show up. And it’s fun talking to the kaypoh uncles and aunties who want to know what you are cooking. I did feel sorry that they had to close their stalls for 2 whole months but the fruit guy summed it up with a shrug and “没办法” (can’t be helped)…a resigned response to a prolonged income-less holiday.

So on to the next adventure of wet market forays. The latest market I’ve been trying out is the Lorong 1 Toa Payoh market which, to date, seems to be the closest fit to what I expect of a wet market, having been so used to what’s available in Whampoa. In fact there are some things here that I can’t get at Whampoa, such as Yong Tau Foo (the YTF stall in Whampoa isn’t open every day). The poultry stalls were also a new experience because the culture is to clean and prep the chicken pristinely – no claws on the chicken feet here!

In the most recent trip to the Toa Payoh market I was intrigued by the fact that there was a stall where the fishmonger only sold salmon and cod. And there were a small cluster of aunties lining up for his fish. I hovered around and watching him was a treat as he would give a running patter about the fish, the cut of the fish, the different prices of each cut and the style of cooking that would suit the fish. I couldn’t resist the beautiful cod fillet that he had (which he said was from Spain). It was a little pricey but I could see that the quality of the fish was so much better than what is typically available elsewhere.

Truth is that I don’t cook cod often as it is not a cheap fish in this part of the world. Dear hubs loves cod and I suspect would eat only cod if he could. Still this fresh cod was a lovely find, so I decided to make miso cod, which is a lovely way to showcase this rather fatty fish.

There are several kinds of miso available on the market. White miso is the youngest and mildest and also the sweetest of the miso pastes and suits the cod best, but as I didn’t have white miso on hand but the more common red miso, I had to adjust for the more assertive flavor. The miso marinade also needs time to infuse into the cod; 2 days (3 days maximum) is needed to marinate the fish.

In the end, the cod was lovely and the time taken to marinate was worth it all. We had this with some cauliflower rice and it made a simple but very tasty dinner.

Miso Cod

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 500g cod fillet, skin off and cut into 4 pieces
  • 200g of miso paste
  • 100ml of mirin
  • 50ml of water
  • 1 tbsp sugar substitute (can omit if using white miso instead)
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1 tbsp chopped spring onions (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat up the mirin in a saucepan over medium heat for 3 minutes, boiling off some of the alcohol.
  2. Add the miso paste and water and sugar substitute to the saucepan and stir well for 2-3 minutes, making sure that the marinade is smooth. Take off the heat and cool.
  3. Place the cod into a ziplock bag with the marinade and put in the fridge. Turn over the bag daily and ensure that the marinade is in contact with all surfaces of the cod.
  4. After 2 (maximum 3) days, take the cod out of the ziplock bag and wipe off the marinade.
  5. Preheat the oven to 170 deg C. Place the cod on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake for 4 minutes, then change the oven function to grill/broil, then grill for another 3 minutes.
  6. Plate the cod on a dish and serve hot. Top with toasted sesame seeds and spring onions for garnish (optional).


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