Fish in Hot Sauce

This spicy, Chinese fish dish from Ken Hom's Complete Chinese Cookbook makes for a delicious dinner. A simple dish perfect for celebrating the Chinese New Year.

From the book

Complete Chinese Cookbook by
Complete Chinese Cookbook
Ken Hom's all-encompassing guide to Chinese cuisine
250 inspiring recipes for authentic Chinese dishes
Easy-to-follow recipes from basic dishes to elaborate feasts


I love to make this quick and easy Sichuan-inspired dish when I am particularly in the mood for fish. A firm, white fish such as cod, sea bass, halibut or haddock is most suitable for shallow-frying because it is meaty and holds its shape during the cooking process. In China, carp would be the preferred fish for this recipe. Serve with plain rice and any stir-fried vegetable.

Serves 4


450g fresh firm white fish fillets, such as cod, sea bass or halibut
cornflour, for dusting
3 spring onions
150ml groundnut or vegetable oil
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
For the sauce:
150ml Chicken Stock
2 tsp whole yellow bean sauce
1 tbsp chilli bean sauce
2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
2 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
salt and white pepper


Sprinkle the fi sh fi llets evenly on both sides with 1 teaspoon of salt. Cut the fi sh into strips 5cm (2in) wide and let them sit for 20 minutes. Then dust them with the cornfl our.

Cut the spring onions into 5cm (2in) diagonal slices. Heat a wok or a large frying pan over a high heat until it is hot. Add the oil, and when it is very hot and slightly smoking, turn the heat down. Fry the fi llets on both sides until they are partially cooked. Then remove and drain the fi sh on kitchen paper. Pour off most of the oil, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the pan.

Reheat the wok or pan and add the spring onions, garlic and ginger. Stir-fry them for 30 seconds, then add the sauce ingredients and season with about ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of white pepper. Bring the mixture to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and return the fi sh to the pan. Simmer for about 2 minutes, then turn the fi sh and sauce on to a platter and serve.

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