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Chili Bean Paste Fish and Tofu Chinese new year dish

Chili Bean Paste Fish and Tofu Chinese new year dish

Chili Bean Paste Fish and Tofu

Chili bean paste fish and tofu is the name of this Chinese fish dish.  This dish is also my first recipe for this Chinese new year. A lot of people probably don’t know when Chinese New Year is this year but it’s actually the 2nd of February. People from Hong Kong, China and Taiwan will usually celebrate from this day and celebrations will go on for about a week. In

In Chinese language we call Chinese new year eve “除夕” (Chu xi). All of our families will gather together, wear new shoes and wear new clothes. We usually wear red and then we’ll have a large new year dinner together. We call this new year dinner “年夜飯” (Nian ye fan).

Fish is one of the dishes that we must have for new year dinner. Fish in Chinese is called “yu” and it sounds similar to the word “” which means “more than enough, spare”. We usually call the fish dish in New year supper “Nian nian you yu 年年有餘”, The whole phrase means “every year have some good things happen and/or money left. Or every year have more than enough money or luck”.

Different families have different traditions for this fish dish for New Year dinner. In my family, we can’t finish this fish in one go. We must leave some fish on the plate, we can’t eat all of it. This is because we believe leaving some fish will bring us luck and money, which also means more than enough money or luck. My grandfather told me, in his navy friend’s home, they can’t turn over the fish because the method for turning over fish looks like a ship or boat capsizing, which of course no-one and especially a navy officer doesn’t want to see.

There is no strict rule of how to cook “Nian Nian you yu” (this dish) for Chinese New Year. You can use any kind of fish you want so long as it’s a whole fish that includes it’s head and tail. I know you’re probably wondering why it has to be a whole fish but using a whole fish represents you doing everything from start to finish and not just doing something halfway.

For this dish I decided to cook Dou Ban Yu. Dou Ban Yu is a really tasty Sichuan style fish dish that can be as spicy as you like but has a really strong taste typical of Sichuan cooking. The most important thing is the red colour from the chilli bean paste (sauce). As mentioned before red is a very good colour for Chinese New Year.

The English translation for Dou Ban Yu is “Chili Bean Paste Fish” and here is my recipe for this dish. I hope you enjoyed reading about this dish and maybe you could give it a go this Chinese New Year.

Chili Bean Paste Fish and Tofu

 

Chili Bean Paste Fish and Tofu Chinese new year dish

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 whole fish I used sea bass
  • 2 thin slices ginger chop finely
  • 2 spring onions chop finely
  • 3 cloves garlic chop finely
  • 1/2 chili remove seeds and chop finely
  • 50 g beef or pork mince
  • 350 g tofu cut into the size as the photo shows, pan fry both sides

Seasonings

  • 1.5 tbsp chili bean paste sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 ltr boiled water or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp rice vinegar

Instructions

  1. Remove all the dirty bits of fish as procedures photo. This procedure ensures the fish tastes better and removes any unpleasant fishy taste.
  2. A teaspoon or similar can help to get rid of the bits you don't want
  3. Cut the fish as the photo shows and use your finger to rub some chilli bean paste into those cuts and inside the fish belly. Leave it aside for 15 minutes after you have done that.
  4. Use your finger to rub some chilli bean paste into those cuts
  5. Use your finger to rub some of chili bean paste inside of fish belly.
  6. Heat a wok with 1 tablespoon of oil and panfry both sides of the fish. Leave each side to fry for 2~3 minutes at least, don’t keep turning the fish or you will just make a mess of the fish. Place the fish on a plate after both sides are a golden brown colour.
  7. Cut the tofu into the size as this photo shows
  8. Pan fry the tofu on both sides
  9. Using the wok from step 3, stir-fry the chilli bean paste first for a couple minutes then add the mince to fry it for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  10. Add rice wine, chilli, ginger, garlic and just half of a spring onion into the wok and stir-fry it until all the fragrance comes out from the wok.
  11. Put the fish back in the wok and add the boiled water or stock to cook.
  12. Add tofu and simmer it to reduce down the sauce.

 

Fish Fragrant Tofu Chinese tofu recipe

Fish Fragrant Tofu Chinese tofu recipe

fish fragrant tofu

I’ve mentioned so many benefits of tofu in my previous blog post and here is another tofu recipe that I want to share with you today.

“Fish fragrant tofu” (魚香豆腐) is one of many famous dishes from Sichuan cuisine. It has “fish” in the name of it but without fish in this dish. It’s called “fish fragrant” because the ingredients for this dish are usually used when cooking fish but people use it for cook tofu, eggplant and other dishes.

There is a story about this fish fragrant dish. A long time ago in Sichuan, there was a family who were really serious when It came to cooking fish. They will use ginger, spring onion, garlic, mince, chilli bean sauce and other ingredients to cook with fish. One day, the lady of this family didn’t want to waste the ingredients so she used the ingredients to cook another dish. She was however realy nervous that it wouldn’t taste nice and her husband wouldn’t like it.

Her husband came home while she was thinking about what she should explain to her husband later about this dish. Her husband was so hungry from work he didn’t wait for dinner to start and literally just took a few bites of this dish. He asked his wife: ”Oh, this dish is the most tasty dish that I ever had in my life, how did you do it?” She told him how she cooked it and they gave the name of this dish “fish fragrant fry (魚香炒)”. This is how “fish fragrant” this name came from.

People who are vegetarian can also cook this dish but just without using any mince. You can adjust the amount of chilli and chilli bean sauce if you prefer your food more or less spicy.

As people who follow my Facebook page will know, I recently bought a pink knife bag. I really like anything that’s pink and when I saw this bag online I just had to buy it! Here are some of photos of my new pink knife bag.

Credit: All photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com

pink knife bag
pink knife bag
pink knife bag

Don’t you think this is the cutest knife bag ever!

 

Fish Fragrant Tofu Chinese tofu recipe

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 boxes tofu around 692g, I bought it from a regular supermarket
  • 1 spring onion chop finely. I used half for the sauce and the other half for garnish
  • 2 cloves garlic chop finely
  • 2 slices ginger chop finely
  • 1 chili chop finely
  • 100 g beef or pork mince I used beef mince in this dish

Seasonings

  • 1 tbsp chili bean sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 drops sesame oil approximately
  • 1 cup water

Marinade for mince

  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 pinches white pepper powder approximately

Instructions

  1. Marinade mince with sugar, soy sauce, salt and white pepper powder for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the packaging from the tofu and cut it into 1.5 cm thick pieces.
  3. Heat a wok with 1 tablespoon of oil and stir fry the spring onion, garlic, ginger and chilli for 30 seconds.
  4. Add mince into the wok and keep stir-frying it until the mince is cooked.
  5. Add chilli bean sauce to stir-fry it for 30 seconds. Add rest of the seasonings into wok and bring it to boil.
  6. Add tofu into wok and gently push them into seasonings and turn the gas power to the lowest and simmer it for 10 minutes.
  7. Place the tofu onto a plate and pour some sauce on top. Sprinkle the rest of the chopped spring onion on top and it’s ready to serve.

 

Steamed Lemon Rainbow Trout Recipe

Steamed Lemon Rainbow Trout Recipe

steamed lemon rainbow trout

My husband’s colleague Dione gave us this great, beautiful and fresh Rainbow trout so I decided to cooked this Steamed Lemon Rainbow Trout dish. Steam is one of the ways we cook seafood in eastern cuisine because using this method can keep the freshness flavour of seafood and it won’t damage the natural taste of seafood.

This rainbow trout probably is the most fresh and tasty fish I have had in UK. We love it so much and even start looking for information of fishing in Edinburgh. Thankfully our friend Dione is a very experienced fishing competitor so she invited us to go fishing with her when Edinburgh’s weather gets warmer. (Dione, we love you!)

There are many ways to steam seafood and the way I used today has combined Thai lemon fish with Taiwanese steamed fish. I hope you will like my recipe and try it at home by yourself. All the ingredients are available in local supermarket or Chinese supermarket.

 

 

Steamed Lemon Rainbow Trout


Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

  • 1 rainbow trout
  • 20 g ginger julienne
  • 20 g spring onions julienne
  • 2 chili julienne
  • 20 g leeks julienne
  • 1 lemon zest and juice. Don’t throw away the lemon because we are going to stuff the fish with lemon.

Seasonings

  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 lemon zest and juice
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp white pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Thai fish sauce optional

Instructions

  1. Marinade the rainbow trout by couple teaspoon of salt and rice wine. Massage the salt with rainbow trout inside out and leave it on aside for 30 minutes.

  2. Mix all the seasonings together and leave it for 15 minutes  until salt and sugar dissolved.

  3. Place the rainbow trout into a deep dish ( I use a lasagna place for my fish.) then place it into a large deep baking tray.

  4. Add procedures 2, the seasoning mixture on top of the fish and stuffed the fish with a little bit leek, ginger, spring onion and the lemon that we squeezed and zested.

  5. Pour some water into the baking tray and cover it by tin foil tightly. Put it into oven and steam it around 45 minutes until the fish is cooked. Oven temperature I used 180 degree and I checked the fish after 30 minutes to make sure the fish is cooked and still have enough water inside the baking tray.