A typical conversation goes like this:
Scene: Coffeeshop zhi char* stall
Uncle: (smiling broadly)... and our best dish is the FISH! Very Good – Must Try!
My mom: ok. One.
Uncle: Because it’s VERY good!
me: Why is it good?
Uncle: (still smiling, but less)... you see so many customers eating the fish, so must be good, right?
me: (pointing accusingly) Why are they not smiling?
Uncle: You don’t like fish?
me: (louder) Why... not... SMILING!??
My mom: sssshhh! Quiet... they will smile later!
me: (protesting)... but... but lousy fish, ma... don’t buy the fish, Don’t buy the FISHHHH!!!
We kinda did ta pau** from this stall forever after that...
So this brings us to my featured dish for today – Sweet & Sour Garoupa! (Yay! she finally got to it!).
See the raw ingredients – fish looks like it’s chuckling, doesn’t it?
See the finished dish - fish looks like a... piggy? dang! camera angle...
Yup! this is one dish that is sure to make you Smile!
*zhi char – cooked to order restaurant style dishes
**ta pau – takeaway, takeout
Sweet & Sour Fish (Garoupa)
Fish1 Garoupa, medium
1 egg yolk
1 to 2 tbsp cornstarch
Cornstarch, to coat fish before frying
Vegetables2 potatoes, medium, peeled
½ cucumber, remove soft centre
1 green pepper
4 big shallots, peeled
Red chillies, sliced
Cilantro, for garnish
SauceI don't really measure the sauce ingredients. Just taste & adjust to your liking (as I do).
Make this in advance to save time.
400 ml of water
Salt, if needed
Method - I have arranged the sequence of steps so that the potatoes are fried last.
Make a paste with the egg yolk and cornstarch.
Gut, rinse & butterfly the fish.
Salt the fish, then coat inside and out, with the yolk paste.
Marinate for 30 mins. in the fridge.
While the fish is marinating:
• cut up the veggies into bite-sized pieces.
• make the sauce - mix everything in a saucepan. Bring to a boil on low heat. Set aside.
Heat up 2 tbsp of oil in a wok.
Stir fry* all the vegetables (except the tomatoes) for about 3 mins
Add the tomatoes & gently stir fry 1 minute. Set aside.
Add & Heat up enough oil for shallow frying.
Coat the fish in cornstarch. Shallow fry till cooked & crispy (turn over carefully).
Place the fish in the middle of a large serving plate.
Deep-fry the potatoes (add & Heat up more oil before frying, if necessary)
While the potatoes are frying, warm & thicken the sauce with cornstarch.
Drain the fried potatoes**.
Arrange the fried vegetables & potatoes around the fish.
Pour the hot sauce onto the veg & potatoes.
Drizzle some sauce over the fish.
Garnish with sprigs of cilantro. Serve Immediately.
Great with white rice!
*till cucumbers are just a little soft on the outside, but still crunchy.
**you can serve the fried potatoes separately to make it a complete meal (increase the amount of potatoes accordingly).