LOCALISED SICHUAN BOILED FISH (水煮鱼)

Sichuan boiled fish (水煮鱼 is a specialty in any Sichuan restaurant but is oftentimes too oily for the average Singaporean taste bud. In this recipe, we have localised this dish by cutting down on the spiciness level and oil, while still retaining the soft texture. Fish with softer meat textures are preferred, so if you are using whole fish, we recommend fishes like rosy seabream (small ang go li) and seabass. For fillets, red snapper fillets would be good.

Cooking time: 20 minutes, excluding marinating time

Ingredients:

1 whole fish (about 300g) or 250g of fish fillet

Shaoxing wine (2 tablespoons, 1 tablespoon for marinating the fish, 1 tablespoon for the broth)

1/2 teaspoon of white pepper

3 tablespoons of vegetable oil

Chicken stock cube

3 cups of water

100g ginger, sliced

3 cloves of garlic, sliced

200g cabbage

1/2 cup of dried chilli, chopped into halves (you may add more if you like your dishes really spicy)

2 tablespoon of Sichuan peppercorn ( you may add more if you like your dishes to be more numbing)

Method:

1. Marinade the fish with shaoxing wine and white pepper and leave aside for 20 minutes. If you are using fish fillets, we recommend using a mixture of egg white, corn starch, shaoxing wine and white pepper to marinate and "velvet" the fish. Read more about velveting here.

2. In a deep pan, add the water and let it boil. Once boiling, add in the chicken stock cube, ginger, garlic, ¼ teaspoon of white pepper, and 1 tablespoon of Shaoxing wine. After the cube is dissolved, add in the cabbage and cook for about 4 minutes or until soft. Remove the cabbage and place on a heat-resistant serving plate. 

3. Add the fish into the remaining broth. Cook for about 8 minutes. 

4. With about 5 minutes left to go, in a separate pot, heat up the oil until you see bubbles. Lower the heat if you see smoke. 

5. When fish is done, lay on the serving plate. Sprinkle the Sichuan peppercorns on the fish, followed by the heated oil. 

6. Serve immediately with rice.