Sichuan Boiled Fish水煮鱼shuǐ zhǔ yú

coverIn restaurants, Sichuan boiled fish is usually made with a whole freshwater fish – often carp or catfish. But you can avoid the struggle of dealing with a whole fish by just using the fish fillets at home. It doesn’t make this dish any less authentic. I would also make good use of the hot-spicy seasoning for fish packet available at most of the Asian supermarkets. The cooking method would be similar to Sichuan Boiled Beef or Shui Zhu Niu. You boil everything, and then hot oil sizzles over the dish in a heatproof bowl.

Serves 4

  • 650g                              Fish fillets. You can choose from tilapia, flounder or catfish. The fresh fish fillets are better. But frozen ones will work too.
  • 2 tablespoons             Chinese cooking wine
  • 2 tablespoons              all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 teaspoon                 salt
  • 150g                                soy Bean Sprouts黄豆芽
  • 150g                                any type of mushroom
  • 150g                                celery西芹
  • 150g                                napa cabbage大白菜
  • 2 tablespoons + ¼ cup cooking oil
  • 1 packet (about 200g)    hot-spicy seasoning for Fish水煮鱼调料
  • 750ml                               water or chicken stock
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons           dried chili pepper干辣椒, adjust the volume based on your tolerance level of the spiciness
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons                      Sichuan Peppercorns花椒, adjust the volume based on your tolerance level of the spiciness
  • A few sprigs                                   cilantro 香菜IMG_8450

 Method

  1. Pat dry the fish fillets with kitchen towel. Cut the fish into 1/2-inch thick slices at a 45-degree angle. The goal is to get pieces of fish with a lot of surface area, as they’ll shrink once cooked.IMG_8452
  2. Next, marinate the fish. Add 1/3 teaspoon salt, 1tablespoon Chinese cooking wine and 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. Mix everything well. IMG_8455
  3. The active cooking time takes less than 15 minutes, so make sure the rest of the ingredients are prepped while the fish is marinating, and that you’re ready to eat right afterwards, because this dish is best served immediately.
  4. Make sure you now have a big, deep and heatproof bowl ready as the serving dish.IMG_8456
  5. Bring a big pot water to a boil. Blanch the pre-cut vegetables. Drain and place them in the big serving bowl.
  6. In a wok set over high heat, add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil. Add into the hot-spicy packet and cook for about 2 minutes till fragrant. Pour into the water or chick stock and bring it to a boil. Add half of the fish and cook for about 3 minutes till fillets turn white or cooked.
  7. Use a slotted spoon to move the cooked fish onto the vegetables. Do the same with the half of the fillets. Once done, pour the rest of the sauce into the bowl.
  8. Place your desirable amount of dried chili pepper and Sichuan peppercorns on top of the fish. Place a separate frying pan on the stove over high heat. Add into ¼ cup of the cooking oil. Once the oil becomes piping hot (very hot), pour the oil onto the dried chili pepper and Sichuan peppercorns. Garnish with cilantro.

    9. Serve immediately.

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