In keeping with the Missus' wish to never have the same fish dish for more than two or three times (there are exceptions of course) I have to keep coming up with various preparations, most of which include some kind of sauce. I'll readily admit that sometimes my answer to the Missus's, "why don't you make something good for a change" can be a hard sell. This one is a good example. I've been missing Chinese flavors, so looking at the nice piece of halibut, I thought why not guai-wei, also known as "strange flavor", but probably even more well known as the flavoring for a popular Sichuan dish called "Bang Bang Chicken"......bang bang ji si. It's basically a combination of "fish flavored" (yu xiang - 鱼香), sesame paste, and Sichuan Peppercorns.
To the Missus this seemed like heresy, She had never heard of such a preparation using fish....but I've made guai wei ji si in the days when the Missus used to eat chicken. Still, She really doubted that I could pull this off.........
In the end, She loved it....well, She loved the sauce. You talk about the classic suan-tian-ku-la-xian, the sour-sweet-bitter-spicy-salty metaphor for a flavorful, yet balanced dish the Chinese use.
The fish was prepared in typical Chinese fashion. The basic marinade step for the fish is simple:
2 Tb Shaoxing Wine
2 Tb Grated Ginger
Combine and let fish sit for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile the strange flavor sauce:
3 Tb Chinese sesame paste, mixed well
1 tsp sesame oil
2-3 Tb Chili Oil
1 tsp ground, toasted Sichuan Peppercorns
2 Tb Premium Light Soy Sauce
1 Tb sugar
Salt to taste
water or peanut oil to thin out the sauce
- Combine the first 6 ingredients, mixing well until the sugar is dissolved
- Add oil or water if the sauce is too thick
- Taste and adjust flavors, add salt if desired
I then dust the fish with potato starch and pan fry. Spoon on the sauce, garnish with scallions, cilantro, sesame seeds and some really spicy red chilies.
Drizzle with more chili oil.
I served this with Jinan style purple cabbage slaw on some mizuna.
I lived to cook another day.........