CHINA: Crispy fish with spicy sweet and sour sauce

Photos by Wendy Chow/Globe Staff


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
¼medium onion, diced
cup julienned bamboo shoots
1scallion cut into 1-inch pieces
pinchof dried red pepper flakes
1teaspoon vegetable oil
2teaspoons sugar
2teaspoons vinegar
1teaspoon oyster sauce
2teaspoons ketchup
1teaspoon salt
1teaspoon corn starch
1teaspoon 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.