Delicious Sichuan Cuisine: Dry Braised Fish

Dry Braised Fish, a traditional Szechuanese dish, is an excellent example that demonstrates some of the know-how of traditional Chinese cooking. This dish takes longer to prepare and make, but its rich and complex flavors signify the best Szechuanese cooking has to offer.

Dry-braising, literally translated from the term in Chinese, 乾燒 (Gan Shao), refers to a method in Chinese cooking that uses relatively less braising liquid at the start, and reduces most of the liquid towards the end of the cooking process. This technique does not use starch to speed the process along.

%e4%b9%be%e7%87%92%e9%ad%9a-eng-7

Dry Braised Fish Ingredients: 

  • A whole fish (carp, grass carp, crucian carp, or other types of similar fish)
  • Minced pork
  • Spring onion
  • Ginger
  • Chopped garlic (pieces shouldn’t be too fine to preserve flavor)
  • Ya cai (Sichuanese preserved mustard greens)
  • Pickled chili pepper
  • Jiu Niang (Sweet fermented rice)
  • Soup stock
  • Salt
  • Cooking wine
  • Vinegar
  • Soy sauce
  • Pepper

 

Dry Braised Fish Directions:

  1. Preparing the fish:
    — Descale and gut the fish;
    — Make slanted knife cuts on both sides of the fish;
    — Place the fish in a metal pan or a similar container;
    — Cut spring onion into segments and ginger into thin pieces, place them over the fish;
    — Sprinkle some salt on the fish and rub it all over evenly;
    — Pour a bit of cooking wine on both sides of the fish;
    — Let the mixture sit and marinate for 10 minutes.%e4%b9%be%e7%87%92%e9%ad%9a-eng-4
  2. First, fry the fish in a wok. Wait until the cooking oil becomes very hot before sliding the fish in the oil. This quickly gives the fish a nice crust so its shape stays in place. Fry until the fish turns golden. Scoop it out. Set aside for later.%e4%b9%be%e7%87%92%e9%ad%9a-eng-2
  3. In an empty wok, stir fry minced pork, add cooking wine to remove any unpleasant flavor. Pour the pork into a strainer and drain the oil. Set the pork aside for later.
  4. In an empty wok, add a little cooking oil, add chopped ginger, garlic, ya cai, pickled chili pepper, spring onion segments, and sauté everything, adding a little jiu niang. Sauté briefly and add the minced pork set aside from step 3. Then add soup stock.%e4%b9%be%e7%87%92%e9%ad%9a-eng-3
  5. On high heat, add the fried fish to the mixture from step 4. Add a dash of vinegar (to remove the fishy smell) and soy sauce (to give it a nicer color). Add cooking wine and pepper.%e4%b9%be%e7%87%92%e9%ad%9a-eng-5
  6. Turn down the heat, put the lid on the wok and slowly reduce the liquid in the wok to a thick sauce.
  7. On the serving plate, first place the fish, and then drip the sauce and the rest of the ingredients in the wok all over the fish evenly. Voila! Dry Braised Fish is ready to serve.

Dry Braised Fish Tips:

%e4%b9%be%e7%87%92%e9%ad%9a-eng-6 %e4%b9%be%e7%87%92%e9%ad%9a-eng-ps

There are two ways to make Dry Braised Fish. The Chengdu-style uses pickled chili pepper, and the finished dish is golden brown; whereas the Chongqing-style uses broad bean paste, giving the finished dish a reddish color.

%e4%b9%be%e7%87%92%e9%ad%9a-eng-1Chinese chefs don’t use thermometers. They can tell when the oil temperature is ready just by looking and listening. Their experience will guide them.

Ya cai is Szechuanese preserved vegetable. It is a specialty from the city of Yibin in Southern Szechuan. If you can, try to get ya cai made in Yibin. Chinese supermarkets usually carry ya cai, but make sure you don’t confuse ya cai with bean sprouts, because the Chinese pronunciations for ya cai and bean sprouts are exactly the same!
Ingredients such as ya cai, pickled chili pepper and sweet fermented rice add so much complexity to this dish, debunking the myth that Szechuanese dishes are nothing but chili peppers and oil!

 
 

Li Weixun: Rescued From Hell

Li Weixun: Rescued From Hell
READ MORE >
 
 
 
US

Trump seeks era of American energy dominance with help from Native Americans

Trump seeks era of American energy dominance with help from Native Americans
President Donald Trump wants to unleash America’s domestic energy reserves and help Native Americans in the process. He ...
READ MORE >
 

Six charged in 1989 UK football stadium disaster

Six charged in 1989 UK football stadium disaster
Prosecutors announced criminal charges on Wednesday in the deaths of 95 Liverpool fans in the 1989 Hillsborough soccer ...
READ MORE >
 
US

Two railway workers killed by train on Amtrak line outside Washington DC

Two railway workers killed by train on Amtrak line outside Washington DC
Two workers for transport company CSX were struck and killed by an Amtrak train just outside Washington, D.C. ...
READ MORE >
 
US

Bees swarm famous building in New York City

Bees swarm famous building in New York City
A swarm of about 30,000 bees decided to visit a famous ledge in downtown New York on June ...
READ MORE >
 

These Tree-Shaped Wind Turbines Are Small Enough To Fit Your Backyard

These Tree-Shaped Wind Turbines Are Small Enough To Fit Your Backyard
Monstrous, noisy conventional wind turbines may soon be a thing of the past thanks to tree-shaped wind turbines ...
READ MORE >