Fried Mountain Trout with Ginger
4 single serving size trout,
about 200 g/7 oz each
salt and five-spice powder mixed together
4 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)
3 spring onions (scallions)
8 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons fine shreds fresh ginger*
2 tablespoons Chinese red vinegar
or wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Chinese wine or sherry
4 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons oriental sesame oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
Clean the cavity of the trout with damp paper towels dipped in salt. Make shallow diagonal cuts on either side of the fish and rub in salt and five-spice powder. Roll fish in cornflour to coat then dust off excess.
Cut the spring onion into bite-sized pieces. Combine the sauce ingredients.
Heat a wok, add peanut oil and when very hot, fry the ginger and spring onions for a few seconds until spring onions are soft but not brown. Remove on a frying spoon and set aside on a plate. Slip fish into the oil and fry until golden brown underneath, then turn them over, lower heat and fry until the other side is browned and the fish are cooked through. Remove to serving dish.
Pour off oil, add sauce mixture to wok with ginger and spring onion. Cook for 1 minute on high heat or until the sauce boils. Spoon sauce over the trout and serve garnished with coriander.
* Young tender ginger, which has translucent skin and pink tips, is best for this dish. If this is not in season, reduce the quantity of ginger by half.
Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)