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chinese twice-cooked fish

October 15, 2019

Craving some Chinese restaurant food? This uses only a few ingredients, but since they are fermented, the flavor is complex. Great, simple way to cook some fresh fish. Recipe by by Elaine, loosely based on a twice-cooked pork recipe.

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marinade:
1 fish fillet, around 600 grams
1 tbsp. Chinese cooking wine
1 tbsp. light soy sauce
1/4 tsp. sugar
a little shredded ginger – original calls for “5-6 sheds”(?)
cornstarch for coating

stir-fry:
1 tbsp. cooking oil
1 tbsp. red bean paste (doubanjiang)
1 tbsp. fermented black beans (dou-chi)
1 thumb ginger, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 chili pepper, shredded
scallions or garlic chives (one or two, or more to taste)
1 tbsp. light soy sauce

1. Cut the fish into pieces around 2cm thick. Add cooking wine, ginger shreds, soy sauce, salt and sugar. Set aside and marinate for 10 minutes.

2. Sprinkle corn starch over fish – she suggests 1/4 c – until coated. Set aside for 5-10 minutes, until corn starch gets gummy.

3. Add 1/4 cup of oil to a pan or wok on medium-high heat, and shallow fry the fish pieces until golden brown on surface. Move fish to plate; keep pan on heat.

4. Leave around 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan, turn down heat, and fry doubanjiang for 1 minute until the red turns red. Add garlic, ginger and dou-chi and fry until aromatic.

5. Place chili peppers, scallion sections and garlic sprouts in. Fry until almost soft and return the fish, add light soy sauce and salt. Mix well. Serve immediately.

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recipe by china sichuan food and adapted by me, friedsig

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I love how this still allows some fish flavor to come through – it’s not deep-fried – and the shallow pan-fry allows the fish to stay moist and not overcook. The flavor isn’t exactly subtle, depending on your doubanjiang and other ingredients, so it’s nowhere near bland. Just right. (If you have some nasty frozen fish with a bad flavor, you may want to try something like fish cakes. If you’re set on this dish, though, you could probably beef up the flavor of this dish with chili oil, more scallions or garlic chives, more garlic, and more bean paste.) I splurged on some fresh lake trout, and still got plenty of fresh fish flavor since I reduced the chili and scallions. I also removed all the salt in the recipe because the ingredients are way more than salty enough for me, but of course, if you like it salty, add a pinch of salt.

Definitely recommended if you want something straddling the line between “healthy” and “fried”. Another keeper from Elaine!

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