I’m not sure how to begin describing this dish. It’s popular in all Hong Kong cafes and features a hybrid of westernized Cantonese cooking. It’s hard as an outsider to really describe this take on food that’s become so popular here in America (and I think Hong Kong?), basically Hong Kong Style is utilizing western ingredients (cream sauces, cheese, hot dogs, macaroni) in an Asian (specifically Cantonese) fashion. Did that make sense?
Seafood Bakes are on almost every Hong Kong cafe menu I’ve ever been to and has served as comfort food for me since my high school teeny bopper days. It’s usually cheap (always under $9), large portions and really helps soaks up the alcohol from a night of drinking (only after I turned 21, no.. really!) in my youth. It seems that’s when the cafes are poppin’, late night right after the club when all the Asians are looking for HK milk tea, egg puffs, salt and pepper wings and of course.. bakes of all type. Be it chicken, beef, the ever popular pork chop bake and of course seafood. The proteins are served over your choice of fried rice or spaghetti, with some sort of sauce (cream sauce always for the seafood) and a mountain of cheese, baked and brought to the table piping hot. See why it’s hard for me to explain? I know the combination sounds incredibly strange, but it’s crazy good and I’d get it regardless of how drunk I was.
I’m not sure what took me so long to try a home-made version, but I finally did this past weekend and I think it came out pretty good for a first try! Definitely will need more cream sauce on mine when I make this dish in the future. This is a layered casserole dish and although it’s easy enough to put together, there are many steps, so I couldn’t exactly file it under So Simple It’s Silly. Instead, for all my more step heavy or complicated recipes, I’m going to call them “Iron Chef-ing”, yes I know I’m incredibly dorky!
This is my personal take on a Seafood Bake, I couldn’t find any iron clad recipes, so I modeled it after the bake from my favorite HK café and just went for it. What is cooking after all if not fun? Good Luck!
8 cups hard-cooked rice
5 whole eggs
¼ cup vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
5 tbsp unsalted butter
5 tbsp flour
3 cups of whole milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 container mushrooms, sliced (your choice, I used button)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups total your favorite mix of seafood, cut to similar sizes
Traditionally squid or cuttlefish, shrimp, scallop and a white fish such as Tilapia
(I used squid, octopus, shrimp, mussels, imitation crab and tilapia)
2 teaspoon of oil
1 ½ cups of cheese (mix of cheddar and mozzarella)
Green onions thinly sliced for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Cook your rice a day in advance and cook it ‘hard’, meaning using about ½ – ¾ cup less water then you normally use for a less fluffy end product. This is much easier to turn into fried rice
2. Place a wok or large skillet on medium heat with a few teaspoon of oil
3. Crack you eggs into a bowl, whisk with a pinch of salt and pepper
4. Pour egg mixture in pan and scramble to a soft scramble (about 4 mins), remove and return to bowl and set aside.
5. Add the rest of the oil to pan and turn heat to medium high, when oil is hot, add your rice and begin to stir fry. Moving the grains to allow the oil to coat each grain and heat through, about 8-10 mins.
6. Add your soft scrambled eggs, toss to distribute. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
1. In a sauce pot on medium heat, add butter and let it slowly melt
2. When melted, add flour and whisk quickly so flour does not clump. Continue to “cook” the flour for about 5 mins, this assures the cream sauce doesn’t have a chalky flavor
3. Slowly add your whole milk a few tablespoons at a time, whisking continuously so no clumps form.
4. Bring to a simmer and add a dash of salt and pepper to taste. For a thicker cream sauce, use less milk. We want our sauce fairly thick so you might not use all of your 3 cups.
5. Turn off heat and set aside.
1. In a sauté pan, add your oil and turn heat to medium high
2. Slice your mushrooms (unless bought sliced) and mince your garlic
3. Add them to your pan and sauté until mushrooms have cooked slightly and colored (about 5 mins)
4. Make sure your seafood is cut to approximately the same size to assure even cooking.
5. Add your seafood and sauté for 1 min then add all of your cream sauce. Turn off heat while you get ready to assemble the seafood bake.
Seafood Bake Assembly:
1. In a casserole dish, add your rice and pat down the top. Not enough to compact the rice but to provide an even surface
2. Evenly distribute your seafood on top of the rice and pour the cream sauce on top.
3. Sprinkle your cheese mixture on top evenly and cover the dish with foil
4. Place in middle rack and bake for 20 mins
5. Remove foil and bake for another 5-6 mins to allow the cheesy top to brown slightly
6. Remove from oven and garnish with green onions
1. Remember to keep your keep sauce thick. A good indication is if you dip the back of a spoon into the sauce and draw a line with your finger, the line should keep and not begin to run.
2. It’s important to keep the sauce thick because you don’t want the fried rice to be wet. Wet fried rice is gross!
3. Before you place your cheese on top, there should be ample cream sauce, if you find yourself a bit “dry”, make more cream sauce using equal parts of butter and flour and a bit of milk. (example: 2 tbsp butter + 2 tbsp flour + a little shy of 1 cup of milk)
4. I’m sure each café has their own special seafood bake recipe and I’ve seen some with veggies in the fried rice. This is the most basic and you can add and subtract components to suit your taste