dimanche 19 janvier 2014

Sichuanese sweet and sour fish tiles

It was M’s birthday last Thursday so we decided to cook something special with the fish we bought. My magical book “Every grain of Rice” gave me the answer as usual. Once you have a few of the principle Sichuan Cuisine ingredients (I would say Shaoxing wine, Chinkiang vinegar, garlic, spring onions, soy sauce (light and dark) and ginger), you can cook up a lot of recipes from this book. We have quite a bit of recipes to share with you and they are all straightforward and umamimely delicious.

Serves 2
300g white fish fillet, such as whiting (we used lemon sole and it was delicious, even without removing the skin)
2 spring onion whites, cut into very fine slivers
Good pinch of very fine slivers of fresh red chilli (we omitted the chili) 
500ml cooking oil
tbsp finely chopped garlic
tbsp finely chopped ginger
tbsp finely sliced spring
onion greens
For the marinade/batter
2 tsp Shaoxing wine
a pinch salt
1 small egg, beaten
tbsp potato flour (corn flour works as well)
1/2 tsp cooking oil
For the sauce
tbsp caster sugar
1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
tbsp Chinkiang vinegar
a pinch of salt
2 tsp potato flour
tbsp stock or water

Lay the fish, skin-side down, on a board. Holding your knife at an angle to the board, cut the fillet into slices about 2cm thick(I recommend having a sharp and adequate knife for fish. I ended up using scissors as I did not have one… did not alter the taste of the dish but I’m pretty sure I would make any professional cook’s hair curl!!)

In a bowl, for the marinade, add the Shaoxing wine and salt and mix well. Then mix in the egg and flour. Finally, add the oil. Soak the fish tiles in the marinade.

In a separate bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the sauce. Set the spring onion whites and chilli slivers to soak in cold water (this will make them curl up prettily).

Heat the 500ml oil in a seasoned wok over a high flame to about 180°C. If you don’t have a thermometer, drop a drop of marinade in the oil when you think it’s ready. If it sizzles and fries instantly it’s hot enough. Use chopsticks to drop half the fish slices into the oil. Taking care they don't stick together, deep-fry until lightly golden (This is very fast. As soon as you have finished putting half the fish in, start removing the first bits you put in). Remove from the wok with a slotted spoon and set aside on kitchen paper to drain. Repeat with theremaining slices. Pile up all the fish slices on a serving dish.

Drain off all but 2 tbsp oil. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry briefly until they smell wonderful (they should not turn golden so this is also quite quick)

Give the sauce a stir and pour it into the wok stirring as it thickens (about 5-7 minutes). When ready, pour over the waiting fish. 

Sprinkle with the spring onion greens and the drained slivered spring onion whites and chilli, and serve.

We ate this dish with plain white rice and it was absolutely delicious.

How did you like this Sichuanese version of the sweet and sour sauce?

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