Latest Stories


Poached barramundi with yellow Darwin sauce and ‘bok choy’


POACHED Barramundi with Yellow Darwin Sauce and Bok Choy

For someone who’s been labeled a “Rude Boy,” chef Aaron Craze is very polite. He smiles a lot, says thank you and even does a children’s show in London where he’s based.

During a recent press conference at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel, he demonstrated how to prepare Poached Barramundi with Yellow Darwin Sauce and Bok Choy with such aplomb and expertise that it was hard to believe he started his culinary career without any previous kitchen experience.

Slicing the herbs, chopping the onions and seasoning the sauce, he was the ultimate pro, focused on the tasks at hand, yet relaxed enough to still be able to chat with the guests.

The dish, which he learned from a fellow chef in Australia, incorporates some of his favorite ingredients: kaffir lime leaves, curry, spices and especially fish. Which is ironic because while growing up, he said, they never ate fish at home.

“We only had goldfish,” he recalls.

If they’d ever had a fish dish, it would be fish fingers with ketchup, served as a sandwich.

Top honors

Craze has gone a long way since then, starting from 12 years ago, when he joined Jamie Oliver’s reality show “Jamie’s Chef.” The show is filmed in Oliver’s East London restaurant, which he set up under his foundation “Fifteen,” a program wherein Oliver and a brigade of mentor chefs help disadvantaged youth develop culinary skills.

Graduating from the program with top honors, Craze was named Oliver’s natural successor and was given £120,000 to establish a business and the license to a pub worth £50,000.

CHEF Aaron Craze

Though he says he “only wanted a job,” Craze admits he was drawn to the culinary world when he saw how Oliver differed from his perception of chefs as fancy people with big hats.

“Jamie was a bit more rock and roll, wearing jeans and T-shirts… He’s like me, he loves music, plays the drums and he has kids.”

What probably clinched his win, he said, was when he made bread for Oliver, which none of the others in the program could do. As luck would have it, he was good at baking bread, because he used to make bread at home with his father.

Big break

The win was a big break for someone who comes from a family of West London criminals. As a young boy, he recalls, he was somewhat like the naughty Artful Dodger in the musical based on Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist.” Dropping out of school at age 15, he worked at a succession of low-paying jobs, from being a factory worker to being a carpet fitter to being a gardener in a cemetery.

“I was pretty rough around the edges,” he says of his early days.

All that seems long ago and far away, what with his polished demeanor and refined social skills. Today, as the star of the cooking show “Rude Boy Food,” which airs on the Asian Food Channel, Craze explores street food from around the world, then replicates them in his kitchen with his own personal touch.

Whether it’s paella or plantain chips, Craze gives them all a playful makeover. Only his mischievous grins and exuberant dancing as he prepares food in the kitchen hint of a somewhat unconventional past.

“Rude Boy Food” airs on the Asian Food Channel every Thursday, 11 p.m. For more information, visit www.asianfoodchannel.com.

Poached barramundi with yellow Darwin sauce and ‘bok choy’

(Although chef Aaron Craze learned this dish in Australia, it’s very Oriental in flavor. The lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, in particular, suggest strongly of Thai cuisine. They impart a very appetizing aroma to the dish.)

  • 2  tbsp cooking oil
  • 2  red onions, chopped
  • inch ginger root, thinly sliced
  • inch galangal, thinly sliced
  • stems lemongrass, white part only, pounded
  • 8  curry leaves, sliced very thinly
  • 8  kaffir lime leaves, sliced very thinly
  • tomatoes, finely diced
  • long red chili peppers
  • c coconut milk
  • 2  tbsp thinly sliced turmeric or 2 tbsp turmeric powder
  • tsp sugar
  • tsp salt
  • slices fresh barramundi (apahap) fillets
  • 4-6  leaves bok choy (Baguio pechay)

To garnish:

  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Fresh coriander (wansuy) leaves

Heat the cooking oil in a wok or large pan. Add the onions, ginger, galangal, lemongrass, curry leaves, kaffir lime leaves, tomatoes and chili peppers. Sauté until the mixture becomes fragrant.

Pour in the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Stir in the turmeric, sugar and salt. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add the fish fillets and continue simmering until fillets are fully cooked, around 5 to 10 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fillets). Transfer the fillets and the sauce to a serving platter. Blanch the bok choy in boiling water for about one minute then plunge them into ice water for another one minute. Drain them then arrange on top of the fish. Garnish with basil and coriander leaves. Makes two to four servings.

For more tips, recipes and stories, visit author’s blog: www.normachikiamco.com and Facebook fan page: www.facebook.com/normachikiamco. Follow on Twitter @NormaChikiamco.

Cook’s tips

Remove the stems from the kaffir lime leaves before slicing them.

The local name for barramundi is apahap. If you can’t find barramundi, you can substitute lapu-lapu or maya-maya fillets.

Galangal is similar to ginger root but mellower in flavor. It’s available in some supermarkets and in weekend markets.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Barramundi , Fish , Food , Lifestyle

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How to enjoy Buntod
  2. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  3. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  4. No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  5. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  6. The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  7. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  8. Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  9. What has happened to Barrio Fiesta and Singing Cooks & Waiters?
  10. Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. How to enjoy Buntod
  3. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  4. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  5. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  6. Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  7. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  8. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  9. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  10. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  3. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  10. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer


  • Retired SC justice Lorenzo Relova; 98
  • Ligots fight 2nd forfeiture case
  • PH will be partly cloudy in afternoon, evening—Pagasa
  • Ex-COA chief nabbed for plunder
  • John Paul relics abound: Bloodied shirt, unwashed fork…
  • Sports

  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • NLEX roars to 7th D-League win
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Nielsen sees car buying boom in the Philippines
  • How author of best-seller exposed ‘one percent’ economic elite
  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • Only 4 Etihad passengers not accounted for
  • Abandoned in Malta,15 PH seamen return
  • Senator hopes PH will also get same vow
  • HK victims to get P115M; traders raised money
  • Afghan hospital guard kills 3 US doctors, including Fil-Am pediatrician