Thursday, 5 May 2005

Sweet and Sour Fish

Now where could the fish be in that picture? You see it? I almost didn't. :lol: It's like a case of 'Where is Wally?'. I had to wade through loads of carrots, bell peppers, and onions to get to the fish. Whichever way it looked, it was good. Though I've heard a chef friend calling this fish (or chicken or pork) marmalade. Whoa! I'm hurt! ;) I still think it is great as long as it's not sickly sweet. This is also called Escabecheng Isda in the Phils.

I spied a couple of fresh looking breams at the Chinese grocery the other day. There and then I decided to make this. Almost any type of white-fleshed fish can be used here: lapu-lapu (grouper), tilapia, pomfret, red snapper, etc. The vegs are really optional, you can have this without the accompanying palaver. The weather was warm enough for me to fry the fish outside in the back garden. I wouldn't dare do it again in the kitchen or else the whole house will stink even with the extractor on. Or maybe I need a more powerful extractor?

Sweet and Sour Fish

1 kg  whole white-fleshed fish - gutted and cleaned
1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 medium onion - sliced
3 pieces dried shiitake mushrooms [optional]
1/2 cup julienned carrots
1/2 cup julienned red or green bell pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp salt
oil for frying
extra salt for the fish
  1. Make 2 or 3 even spaced slits on the flesh of both sides of the fish. Sprinkle salt all over and set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. If using dried mushrooms, soak these in warm water for about 20 minutes. Drain and squeeze water by hand from the mushrooms. Cut off stems and discard. Shred or slice the mushrooms thinly. Set aside.
  3. Combine ketchup, vinegar, sugar, water, 1 tsp salt, and cornflour in a bowl, set aside.
  4. Heat wok or pan with about 1/2 inch of oil. Pan fry fish in medium heat on both sides until thoroughly cooked and a little crispy. The time for this will vary on how big or thick your fish is. Generally it's about 6-7 minutes each side. Remove and drain on paper towels. Arrange on a serving plate and set aside.
  5. While your fish is frying, saute the garlic and onion in a separate wok or saucepan until onion is translucent and soft.
  6. Add in carrots, bell pepper, and mushrooms (if using). Stir and cook for about 3 minutes.
  7. Stir in the vinegar mixture and bring to boil. Cook for another minute. Remove from heat and pour on top of the fried fish. Serve warm.
*Variations: Add pineapple chunks or sprinkle some shredded green onions on top.

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