DOUBAN YU: STEAMED FISH W/ SPICY BEAN SAUCE
Even while the Chinese enjoy eating whole fish, sometimes you just need a break from the bones! This chow yee kow fish stir-fry from a restaurant does the trick.
Anyone searching for a healthy one-pan meal with lots of protein and vegetables, or for someone who is intimidated by cooking a whole fish and prefers to work with fillets, would love this dinner recipe.
CHOW YEE KOW: WHAT IS IT?
It is, in essence, a fish stir-fry. Cantonese speakers refer to stir-frying fish chunks as “Chow Yee Kow.” It’s a pricier dish from a restaurant that, although straightforward, might appear on a banquet table!
In light of this, we have all the top-notch chef’s secrets for making restaurant-quality Chow Yee Kow, including crunchy, vibrantly colored vegetables, a glossy sauce, and smooth bits of filet fish.
VELVET FISHING FOR STIR-FRIES: A How-To
Marinating proteins before poaching or searing in Chinese cooking is known as velveting. Velveting produces a smooth, “velvety” texture while tenderizing and sealing in moisture. Most likely, if you’ve ever done one of our stir-fries, you’ve velveted meat.
Fish doesn’t need to be tenderized as much generally, but the velveting process aids in seasoning and creating the stir-fry sauce using cornstarch and oil. Even egg whites are mentioned in some recipes, although we don’t think this is required.
WHAT FISH IS BEST FOR STIR-FRYING?
For this Chow Yee Kow, which is a more traditional Chinese dish, we used freshly caught blackfish fillets with the skin on, but you may substitute any firm white fish.
Here are some additional brief hints to help you choose and prepare your fish:
- Choose whichever firm white fish you like, but stay away from flounder and sole because they are very delicate. Instead of lovely bits of fish, you’ll wind up with a thousand!
- The choice to keep the fish’s skin on is subjective. Although you need to scale the fish if you want to maintain the skin, I believe the taste and presentation are superior. Ask your fishmonger to complete this task for you as well!
- It is essential to touch the fish, even after the marinated period.
- Depending on your preference, you can either blanch the fish before stir-frying it or sear it in a hot wok. Make sure to refill the marinade with salt by adding 1/4 teaspoon if you choose to blanch the fish in water.
- Although the size of the fish pieces you cut depends on your particular desire, I like to make mine into 1 1/2 inch cubes, which are just big enough to stand out on the platter.
- If you start with a whole fish and remove the fillets, you can make Fish Tofu Soup. In our home, there isn’t any trash!
Dinner tonight will be this fish stir-fry.
- 570g of blackfish
- 1 tablespoon of Shaoxing wine
- 2 teaspoons of cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil
- 1/8 teaspoon of white pepper
REST OF THE DISH
- 4 stalks of asparagus (2-inch)
- 1 small handful snow peas
- 1 stalk of celery (sliced at an angle)
- 1 thinly sliced small carrot
- 1 scallion (2-inch pieces)
- 1 clove of chopped garlic
- 1/2 red bell pepper (1-inch chunks)
- 1/4 cup of chicken stock
- 1/4 cup of red onion (1-inch chunks)
- 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon of julienned ginger
- 2 teaspoons of oyster sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- Cut your fish filet into 112-inch pieces after patting it dry. After transferring, season the bowl with Shaoxing wine, salt, white pepper, and canola oil. Until the fish is thoroughly coated, stir. Mix until the fish is well coated. Ten minutes after setting, add the cornstarch and mix to coat. There shouldn’t be any visible dry cornstarch or any standing liquid. As necessary, add a little more cornstarch or drain the extra liquid. Place aside.
- Mix chicken stock, salt, white pepper, sugar, sesame oil, and oyster sauce in a bowl. Place aside.
- To blanch the vegetables in your wok, boil enough water. Include the celery, carrots, asparagus, red bell pepper, and, if using, carrots. After 15 seconds or when the water starts to simmer again, stir in the snow peas for 10 seconds. In a colander, completely drain.
- Cook your fish until it’s almost completely done before velveting it (the final cooking will occur when everything gets stir-fried together).
- Option 1: Water velveting: If you’d rather blanch your fish, simply allow the water to return to a boil before carefully adding the fish chunks. Return to a simmering point. After about 2-3 minutes, carefully scoop the fish out and place it aside.
- Option 2: Searing or oil velveting the fish: The most typical restaurant method is to fry the fish in hot oil. However, searing the fish uses less oil and is a healthier option. Set the wok to a high temperature. Around the wok, dispense 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Add the fish filets once the oil begins to smoke, and let them sear for a minute on each side. When finished, place them on a dish. See Judy’s method for preventing food from sticking to your wok to help you feel more confident about this stage.
- Set the wok over medium heat after cleaning and drying it. Add the julienned ginger and 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the garlic, red onions, and scallions after 10 seconds. For about 20 seconds, stir-fry the mixture on high heat. The wok should be extremely hot and sizzling.
- For 30 seconds, stir fried the vegetables after they have been blanched. The sauce combination you previously produced should be added. To prevent the sauce from cooling the wok when you add it, microwave the sauce for 10 seconds on high if your stove burner and wok aren’t hot enough.
- Stir your vegetables while adding roughly half of the cornstarch slurry. Pour the fish on top, then gently fold it into the vegetables. If there is still liquid, add a little more cornstarch slurry to the mixture. The fish and veggies should be completely covered with sauce. After adding the cornstarch mix, boil the dish for 20 seconds to remove the raw taste.
- Before plating the dinner, spray it with oil to make it more attractive. Steamed rice should be served right away!