Chinese are a superstitious lot when it comes to celebrating the new year. Specific foods and dishes are eaten because their names sound similar to auspicious words. Since the word for fish, yu, is a homonym of the Chinese word for abundance, eating fish ensures good fortune in the new year. Mr. Chef’s owner Michael Huang (at left) and head chef Jian Li Zheng, who both hail from China’s Fujian province, shared their recipe for a crispy fish that appeals to Westerners. For home consumption, Huang said, he would serve a whole fish, which symbolizes prosperity and unity.
Crispy fish with spicy sweet and sour sauce
|1||red snapper fillet|
|corn starch for coating|
|oil for deep frying|
|¼||green pepper, diced|
|¼||red pepper, diced|
|¼||medium onion, diced|
|⅛||cup julienned bamboo shoots|
|1||scallion cut into 1-inch pieces|
|pinch||of dried red pepper flakes|
|1||teaspoon vegetable oil|
|1||teaspoon oyster sauce|
|1||teaspoon corn starch|
|1||teaspoon sesame oil|
Coat fish filets in corn starch and deep fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
While the fish is frying, make the sauce with remaining ingredients. Saute vegetables in oil until softened and aromatic. Add sugar and liquid ingredients, stirring until all are incorporated. Mix corn starch with a bit of water and add to sauce to thicken. Drizzle sesame oil for extra aroma.
Arrange cooked fish on plate and ladle sauce on top.