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One Food Five Flavors, continued

by Jacqueline M. Newman

Fish and Seafood

Summer Volume: 2003 Issue: 10(2) page(s): 36

In the past issue we looked at one food, fish tails and gave recipes for them Shanghai-style and Hunan-style. Using the same base ingredient, in this issue we offer it in three other styles. Keep in mind that you can make these recipes with a pound of fish filets or an equal amount of fish steaks (fish with skin, on the bone, and sliced cross-wise), with small whole fish; or a related recipe with another main protein item.

In the last issue, we asked if you had a favorite among them; and can you make this recipe or a similar one as though it came from another region in China? Enjoy the comparison, and the challenge of doing so. And, do keep us posted.
Zhejiang Sweet and Sour Fish Tails
4 fish tails
1 Tablespoon rice wine
1 egg yolk
dash of white pepper
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup corn oil
1/2 cup onion, pelled and cut into wedges
1/2 cup black mushrooms, soaked and their stems removed
1/2 cup green pepper, seeded with pith removed, cut into wedges
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons Zhejiang Chinese black vinegar
2 Tablespoons hoisin or any mashed bean sauce
2 Tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 4 Tablespoons cool water
1. Dry fish pieces and set aside.
2. Mix rice wine, egg yolk, and white pepper and set fish pieces in it and see that all sides are coated well.
3. Heat oil. Coat the fish with the three tablespoons of cornstarch, and deep fry until lightly browned, then remove from the oil and drain on paper towels for one minute then put fish on a preheated platter. Set oil aside in a small bowl, and clean the wok.
4. Take two tablespoons of the oil and put it into the clean wok and heat it, then fry the onion, mushroom and pepper pieces for one minute. Then add the sugar, vinegar, hoisin sauce, and cornstarch mixture. Bring to the boil, and pour this over the fish and serve.
Cantonese Steamed Sauced Fish Tails
4 fish tails
1 Tablespoon each minced ginger, scallions, and garlic
2 Tablespoons rinsed and coarsely chopped salted black beans
1 Tablespoon corn oil
1 teaspoon rice wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1. Bring water in the bottom of the steamer to a boil. While it is heating, put fish on a plate that can go into the steamer, but do not put it in yet.
2. Mix ginger, scallions, and garlic then mix in the black beans. Heat corn oil in a wok and stir-fry the bean mixture for one minute. Then add rice wine, salt, and sugar and remove from the heat. Pour this mixture over the fish.
3. Put plate with the fish and sauce mixture on a rack in the steamer and over the rapidly boiling water. Cover the steamer and let this steam ten minutes, remove from the steamer being careful not to lose the sauce, and serve.
Sichuan Crispy Spicy Fish
4 fish tails
3 Tablespoons water chestnut flour
1 cup corn oil
2 or 3 whole dried hot peppers
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 Tablespoons minced scallions
3 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup small black mushrooms, soaked, stems removed, and cut in half
1/4 cup canned bamboo shoots, rinsed and sliced thinly
2 Tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 4 Tablespoons cool water
1. Coat the dry fish tales with the water chestnut flour.
2. Heat oil and deep fry the fish until lightly browned, then remove, drain, and reserve the oil. Put fish on a heated platter or shallow bowl.
3. Put two tablespoons of the reserved oil in a wok and fry the hot peppers, garlic, scallions, and fresh ginger for one minute. You can discard the hot peppers if you do not like things to piquant. Then add the mushrooms and bamboo shoots and fry for another two minutes. Next, add the cornstarch mixture and bring to the boil and simmer until it boils and thickens. Pour this over the fish tails and serve.

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