Much like its cousin, Sweet-and-Sour Pork (page 80), Sweet-and-Sour Fish is accented with layers of flavor: sweet, sour, salty, and savory. While the sauce base is the same (using Sweet-and-Sour Sauce), the accompanying ingredients are different. My good friend, Chef Robert Danhi, gave me the batter recipe used in this dish. Using only a mixture of egg whites and cornstarch, the fish fillet is coated with a thin layer of velvety batter, which offers a light, airy and crispy texture, absolutely ideal for the fish.
Serves 2 as a main dish with rice or 4 as part of a multi-course meal
- 8 oz (250 g) mild-flavor fish fillet, about 1 in (2.5 cm) thick, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 recipe Sweet-and-Sour Sauce
- Oil, for deep-frying
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
- One 1 in (2.5 cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into thin pieces
- 1/2 small tomato, cut into wedges
- 1/2 small cucumber, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 small red or green bell pepper, deseeded and cut into pieces
- 1 green onion (scallion), trimmed and cut into 2 in (5 cm) lengths
- 2 egg whites, beaten
- 1/4 cup (35 g) cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- To make the Frying Batter, beat the egg white for 1 minute and then add the cornstarch and salt. Mix until it forms a smooth batter.
- Add the fish fillet into the Frying Batter, stir to coat evenly with the batter.
- Heat 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) of the oil in a wok or stockpot to 350°F (175°C) for deep-frying. Gently drop the fish into the oil and loosen them up immediately with the spatula to prevent the fish from clumping together.
- Deep-fry the fish to a light golden brown. Dish out with a strainer or slotted spoon, draining the excess oil by laying the fish on a dish lined with paper towels. Discard or reserve the oil for use in another recipe.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and stir- fry to a light brown before adding the tomato, cucumber, and pepper. Stir the ingredients a few times and then add the Sweet-and-Sour Sauce.
- As soon as the Sweet-and-Sour Sauce thickens, add the fish fillet and green onion into the wok or skillet. Stir continuously until all the ingredients are well coated with the sauce. Dish out and serve immediately with steamed rice.
COOK’S NOTE: A mild flavor fish such as sole, cod, snapper, grouper, or halibut is great for this recipe. If you are not experienced with stir-frying fish fillet, get a firmer textured fish like the monk fish.
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