Recipe Source: Dunlop, Fuchsia. Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook. W. W. Norton and Company, New York, 2006 p. 158
It's been a while since I've used this cookbook. When I first started this blog I felt like I was referring to this book all the time. I liked it - loved it really - and it made me happy to use it. I kind of felt that I needed to take a break from it lest this become a Fuchsia Dunlop stalker blog rather than a food blog. I also developed a pork allergy that made a lot of traditional Chinese cooking challenging. I've been thinking about it, though, and as I was doing the menu planning for the week I grabbed this old favorite again and flipped to this recipe.
What I actually made bears very little resemblance to the original of course. I'm back on Weight Watchers. (I'm not sure why. It didn't work last time, or the time before that, but hey - whatever. It worked in my twenties, right?) I looked at the original recipe which demanded half a cup of peanut oil to cook a perfectly healthy rainbow trout and said, "Er... no...." Yes, it's traditional and authentic. No, I'm not going to do it. Of course, I'm allergic to peanuts so I wasn't going to do it anyway. I also had tilapia on hand, so I decided to use it and poach the fish in the sauce rather than fry the fish. I couldn't get my hands on ginger so I used ginger salt. (Long story, partially involving laziness.) I forgot the vinegar. I increased the liquid in the sauce because of the poaching and I might have increased it more than necessary. I used regular rather than dark soy sauce because that was what I could get. I omitted the dried chile flakes because my daughter doesn't care for spicy food. It's kind of like closing the henhouse door after the fox has already got in, but I didn't realize that brand of chili bean paste would be quite so fiery. (She did try it, to her credit.)
In the end both my husband and I liked this dish very much. My daughter also liked it, she just wouldn't eat more than the tiny taste she took because it was "too spicy." It's a start. We spooned the sauce over our rice, which will be posted tomorrow. I would make this again, possibly with tofu.
I'd also like to draw your attention to the photograph. My husband was taking the photos of the food last night and my daughter is going through a "helpful" phase. She wants to do everything we do. She asked if she could take the pictures. I'm differently thrilled that he let someone who is not yet three years old handle a piece of equipment that costs as much as my camera does, but would you believe that the photo you see was taken by someone who is not yet toilet trained? Once she got the idea of "aim" down she really got into it.
Fish in Black Bean Sauce (serves 4; approx. $1.11/serving)
4 tilapia fillets
3 tablespoons chile bean paste
1 tablespoon Ginger Salt
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
- Large, deep saute pan
- Heat the oil in the saute pan.
- Add the garlic, ginger salt and bean paste. Saute until fragrant, no more than 30 seconds.
- Add the broth and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
- Add the fish. Poach until cooked, flipping once.