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boiling fish (shui zhu yu)



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Servings: 4


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Step 1

In a bowl, combine the fish with 1/4 teaspoon salt and the wine (or sherry). Set aside.

Step 2

Set a large (4 or 5-quart) clay pot, donabe, or similar kind of heavy pot over medium heat with 2 tablespoons oil. When shimmering, add the chiles and peppercorns. Stir and let fry for about 45 seconds, then use a slotted spoon to scoop into a bowl, leaving oil behind. Set aside to cool.

Step 3

Reheat the pot over medium-high heat. Add the celery and cabbage and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook for 1 minute, until crisp-tender. Hold in a bowl.

Step 4

Return the pot to the burner. Still over medium-high heat (or increase the heat to high, if you want more heat) and add 1 to 2 tablespoons oil to the pot. When shimmering, add the green onion whites, ginger, and bean paste. Stir to loosen up and when aromatic, add the stock (plus water, if using) and partially cooked vegetables. Let come to a boil.

Step 5

Meanwhile, add the starch slurry to the fish. And, roughly chop the cooled fried chile and peppercorn mixture. Keep near the stove.

Step 6

When the pot comes to a boil, add the fish and all the starchy liquid. As the fish cooks and firms up, 1 to 2 minutes, gently nudge with chopsticks to keep the piece separate. Taste and if needed, add the soy sauce for salty, savory depth.

Step 7

Throw in the remaining green onion parts and let cook for 15 to 30 seconds to soften and meld flavors. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle the chopped chile and peppercorns on top, then finish with the chile oil. Bring to the table and serve.

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