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Fish Shanghai



For the Fish

  • 1 (2-pound) whole sea bass or yellow fish, scaled and eviscerated
  • 1/2 cup Shaoxing cooking wine (Chinese rice wine)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh, peeled ginger
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 cups rice flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs

For the Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh, peeled ginger
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup julienned carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and julienned
  • 1 cup chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium canned
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch diced fresh pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions (white and green)


To make the fish: Score each side of the fish with 3 diagonal cuts. Put the fish in shallow dish and pour over the rice wine. Using your hands, rub the ginger all over the fish, pressing some of it into the cuts. Set aside for 10 minutes, turning once. Meanwhile, fill a fryer with oil and preheat to 370 degrees F.

Put the flour in a dish and season the flour with salt and pepper, to taste. Whisk together the eggs in a shallow bowl. Remove the fish from the wine and dredge both sides in the rice flour, shaking off any excess. Dip both sides of the fish in the egg and dredge again in the flour.

Holding the fish by the tail, gently lower the fish into the hot oil and cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and transfer to a large serving platter. Set aside in a warm spot while you make the sauce.

To make the sauce: Heat the oil in a large wok over high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 1 minute. Add the ginger and star anise and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until somewhat soft, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots and pepper and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes more. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, chili sauce, and pineapple and stir to combine. Return the sauce to a boil.

Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl.
Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the sauce and return to a boil while whisking. Boil until thickened. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove from the heat and stir in the green onions. Pour the sauce over fish and serve immediately.


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