Sweet-and-sour fish ‘tiles’

Sweet-and-sour fish ‘tiles’

Tang cu wa kuai yu

By
From
Every Grain of Rice
Photographer
Chris Terry

The sweet-and-sour sauce made for this dish is dramatically different from the Cantonese version, with its fruity tomato paste sauce. Here, the sauce is made from sugar and Chinkiang vinegar, with the flavours of ginger, garlic and spring onion. In Sichuan, this dish would be made with carp; here I’ve used whiting instead.

The same sauce can be used to dress deep-fried chicken or tofu.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
250g white fish fillet, such as whiting
2 spring onion whites, cut into very fine slivers
good pinch very fine slivers of fresh red chilli
500ml cooking oil
1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped
2 tablespoons spring onion greens, finely sliced

For the marinade/batter

Quantity Ingredient
2 teaspoons shaoxing wine
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 small egg, beaten
4 tablespoons potato flour
1/2 teaspoon cooking oil

For the sauce

Quantity Ingredient
5 tablespoons caster sugar
1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 tablespoons chinkiang vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons potato flour
5 tablespoons stock
or 5 tablespoons water
Sea bream in fish-fragrant sauce

Method

  1. Lay the fish, skin-side down, on a board. Holding your knife at an angle to the board, cut the fillet into slices about 1/2 cm thick and place in a bowl. For the marinade, add the Shaoxing wine and salt and mix well. Then mix in the egg and flour to evenly coat. Finally, add the oil. 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).
  2. Heat the 500 ml oil in a seasoned wok over a high flame to about 180°C. Use chopsticks to drop half the fish slices into the oil, taking care they don’t stick together. Deep-fry until lightly golden. Remove from the wok with a slotted spoon and set aside on kitchen paper to drain. Repeat with the remaining slices. Pile up all the fish slices on a serving dish.
  3. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons oil, add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry briefly until they smell wonderful. Give the sauce a stir and pour it into the wok, stirring as it thickens. Add the spring onion greens, mix well and then pour over the waiting fish. Sprinkle with the drained slivered spring onion whites and chilli, and serve.

Variations

  • Fish-fragrant fish ‘tiles’: Pour over a fish-fragrant sauce instead of the sweet-and-sour one here, for a Sichuanese flavour.

    Salt-and-pepper fish ‘tiles’: Instead of a sauce, serve the deep-fried fish with a dip of three parts of salt mixed with one part of ground roasted Sichuan pepper.
Tags:
Chinese
Sichuanese
Asian
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