About this recipe: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.
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
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Method Prep:10min › Cook:16min › Ready in:26min
Clean and towel-dry fish.
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.
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.)
Turn off heat and stir in remainder of spring onion. Serve on plate with garnish of coriander leaves.