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Sichuan Dry-Cooked Fin Fish

Fish and Seafood

Sichuan Dry-Cooked Fin Fish
2 pounds whole fin fish, scales, gills, guts discarded, rinsed and dried with paper towels
1 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons Chinese rice wine
1 cup vegetable oil
1 dried Sichuan pickled pepper, seeds discarded, pepper slivered
3 Tablespoons hot soybean paste
5 scallions, white part slivered, one set aside
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
2large cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 cup fish or chicken stock
1 Tablespoon cornstarch, optional

1. Rub salt and wine on the fish skin and its cavity, and set aside for ten minutes.
2. Heat wok, add the oil, and deep-fry the fish on each side until the skin shrinks, about one minute per side, then remove the fish to a plate, and half the remaining oil to a small bowl.
3. Add the Sichuan pickled pepper and all the prepared soybean paste, scallion, ginger, and garlic pieces to the remaining oil in the wok and stir for one minute or until the oil becomes red, then add the stock and bring to a boil.
4. Return the fish, reduce the heat to a low boil and cook it ladling the stock over the fish for ten minutes, adding the cornstarch mixed with one tablespoon cold water, if desired, until somewhat thickened, about another minute.
5. Remove the fish to a platter, pour any remaining sauce over, sprinkle the set aside scallion slivers, and serve.

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