Get a little spicy with Chinese fish in chilli sauce
From the simplicity of spring rolls to the complex flavours of Sichuan dishes, there’s a lot to love about Chinese food. It is one of the world’s most-enjoyed and oldest cuisines, and highly regarded Chinese authors Kei Lum Chan and Diora Fong Chan have joyously celebrated it in their gilt-edged compendium China: The Cookbook. The book explores more than 650 authentic traditional recipes from 30 distinct regions of China, including staples such as hot-and-sour soup and chicken in black bean sauce, and lesser-known dishes such as Lai Wan-style congee and laughing doughnuts. This recipe for fish in chilli sauce comes from the Sichuan region – so you can be sure it will get your heart racing.
3 dried black mushrooms
1 dried black fungus
1 (800 g) carp, cleaned and rinsed
1 teaspoon salt, plus extra to taste
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 L vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons grated ginger
150 g ground (minced) pork
1 tablespoon rice wine
10 pickled red chillies, chopped
2 tablespoons Pixian chilli bean paste, chopped
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2–1 tablespoon black or balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper, plus extra to taste
4 spring onions, chopped
1 red chilli, sliced, to garnish (optional)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Put the mushrooms and black fungus in two separate bowls and soak in cold water for at least 20 minutes, or until softened. Remove the mushrooms, squeeze dry and discard the stems. Dice, then set aside. Tear the black fungus into small pieces.
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