Freshwater Fish with Chilli Sauce

    This is one of our family’s Chinese New Year favourites. The tradition of serving whole fish on this holiday is a wish for "nian nian you yu" – “having more than enough for the coming year.” The recipe calls for "yu xiang wei" (“fish fragrant flavour”), a blend of garlic, ginger, spring onion, and chilli commonly used in Sichuan cuisine.

    Washington, United States
    3 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 1 whole freshwater fish (about 500g before cleaned), such as tilapia, trout, or carp
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
    • 10g root ginger, sliced
    • 2 spring onions, cut into 3cm lengths
    • 2 tablespoons red chilli paste
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1/2 teaspoon dark vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon rice wine
    • pinch white pepper
    • 300ml cold water
    • 5 stems of coriander

    Prep:10min  ›  Cook:16min  ›  Ready in:26min 

    1. Clean and towel-dry fish.
    2. With the burner set medium to high, heat oil in a large wok to 170 C. Stir in ginger, garlic and 1/2 of the spring onion; cook for 30 seconds. Stir in chilli paste; cook for 1 minute. Stir in sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, rice wine and white pepper; cook for 1 minute. Add water and bring sauce to the boil.
    3. Add fish, cover the wok, and cook for 6 minutes; turn over fish, re-cover wok, then cook for additional 5 minutes. (As with any fish, adjust cooking time for weight.)
    4. Turn off heat and stir in remainder of spring onion. Serve on plate with garnish of coriander leaves.
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