Cultures around the world celebrate New Year as a time of renewal but when it comes to the Lunar New Year, a deeper meaning runs through and around the celebration.
For the Chinese, it’s a time to gather with the family, honour ancestors, and celebrate with lots of food that symbolizes prosperity. We’re talking banquets and snacks. Lots of snacks! In Chinese New Year banquets (such as lunches and dinners with innumerable dishes), each dish symbolizes something positive and hopeful.
A good example would be fish, which is symbolic for happiness and prosperity – especially when it’s served whole. So here’s a good recipe for “Whole Fish with Black Bean Sauce”, a common dish in Chinese homes and restaurants.
You will need:
Peanut oil or vegetable oil, for frying
2 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) Petrole soles, scaled and eviscerated, head off
2 tablespoons Chinese fermented black beans, rinsed well and drained
4 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup green onions sliced on the bias, garnish
1. In a large wok or pot, heat the vegetable oil to 400 degrees F (204°C).
2. Make 2 or 3 slashes diagonally across the flesh of each side of the fish.
3. In a small bowl, mash the black beans and garlic. Add the rice wine, oil, ginger, sugar, pepper flakes, and salt, and whisk to combine. Rub the mixture over the outside of the fish, rubbing onto the slashes.
4. In a shallow bowl, combine the cornstarch and flour. Dredge the fish in the mixture and shake to remove any excess.
5. Carefully slide the flour-coated fish into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, about 5 to 8 minutes, turning as necessary with tongs. Remove and drain on paper towels.
6. Garnish with the chopped green onions and serve immediately.
For more information visit their website.