[CC cooks]: CNY 2012 – ‘fun yu’

More CNY posts! This time, I’m going to share a home recipe with you!! Every CNY, we have a big cold platter as one of our reunion dinner dishes, with all sorts of braised meats along with jellyfish. One of the staples of our cold platters is this Shanghai-style fish…it’s Mum’s favourite dish and to put it simply, it’s a must during CNY…haha.

This fish is called ‘fun yu’ and it’s slightly sweet, salty with just a hint of chilli. It’s generally eaten cold because then the fish meat is a bit firmer but if you can’t wait for it to chill, you could sneak a few pieces while it’s still hot…like I did =P oops! haha. We like to use pomphret for this but others also use cheaper small fish like dace or something. You first fry the fish, then you braise it in a sauce and let it chill for however long. We usually chill it for 1-2 days before the reunion dinner. It’s seriously so good…no wonder it’s my Mum’s favourite!  

Recipe (for 9 pomphrets)
(from CC and her Dad)
**All measurements are estimates. I never use measuring devices for Chinese cooking and just go by taste. So feel free to adjust and add as you cook this dish**

First, you have to marinate the fish

Marinade Ingredients
1tbsp Szechuan Peppercorn
Few slices Ginger
2 Spring onion
3-4 Star anise (break these up a bit)
1/3 cup Xiaohing wine
1tbsp Light soy sauce (not sodium-reduced. Just the lighter colour)
2tsp White pepper powder
1 Chilli (padi) or bigger red chilli

1. Slice pomphret on an angle. It doesn’t have to be TOO thin otherwise the flesh falls apart. Probably about 1cm thick (1.5cm maximum). If you are using small fish, you could probably skip this step.
2. In a large tray/bowl, mix all ingredients together with the fish.
3. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use
*We usually marinate it for about 2 nights*

 Then, you have to deep-fry the fish

1. Heat oil in a wok until hot
2. When the oil is hot, place pieces of fish in oil (Be careful of splatter, and don’t overcrowd the oil).
3. Turn the fire down a bit so the oil isn’t too hot. You want to fry the fish until the flesh is quite dry so that it can then reabsorb the sauce later.
4. When fish is done, drain excess oil and repeat until all the fish has been deep-fried.
*Take care to handle the fish carefully, you don’t want the pieces to fall apart*
*DO NOT deep-fry the spring onion, etc. You use that for the sauce*

Then, you cook the sauce.

Sauce Ingredients
Spring onion, ginger, chilli, star anise, szechuan peppercorn (all from the marinade). 
4tbsp Sugar
1/4 cup Light soy sauce (not sodium-reduced. Just the lighter colour)
1.5tsp Dark soy sauce (NOT kecap manis)
A splash of Xiaohing wine
Salt to taste
2-3 cups Water
A drizzle Sesame oil

1. Heat a bit of oil in wok (you can reuse the oil from deep-frying, like we do).
2. Add the spring onions, etc from the marinade and fry until fragrant
3. Add sugar and fry until caramelised
4. Add light soy sauce and xiaohing wine (pour the wine around the outside of the wok so it sizzles).
5. Add water and let it boil, then add the pre-fried fish pieces.
6. Add dark soy sauce until preferred colour
7. Add salt/more sugar to taste. This fish is slightly on the sweet side.
8. Add sesame oil around the outside of the fish INTO the sauce (otherwise it gets absorbed by selected pieces)
9. Simmer until most of the sauce has been absorbed by the fish, stirring and flipping the fish pieces occasionally so every piece absorbs some sauce.
10. When ready, transfer to a dish/bowl and refrigerate until ready to eat (after sneaking a few pieces).
11. To serve, cut fish into strips.
12. EAT! =D
*We usually don’t have a lot of sauce, just enough to pour on top*

Phew! Hope everything made sense! I’ve never written recipes before so if you want to try this, and have any questions, just let me know.

This is a home recipe, and it took me a while to type up so if you are going to use it and blog about it on your own blog, please link it back to this post. It’s unfair to me, and to my Dad, if you take this recipe as your own. Thank you.

I’ll be submitting this to Aspiring Bakes #15: Auspicious Dishes for CNY (January 2012), hosted by Wen of Wen’s Delight.

Happy cooking! Have a great weekend, everyone!

龍年到了!! 恭喜發財, 新年快樂!

2 thoughts on “[CC cooks]: CNY 2012 – ‘fun yu’

  1. Thanks for your comment, Wen! Yes, you definitely should try it one day! I used to think it was very difficult and tedious to make but it actually isn't. I think pomphret is quite easy to find in Singapore too, right? White pomphret would be better for this dish because it's meat is nicer but black pomphret will still taste good. Hope you can try it one day and if you do, let me know how it turns out! =)


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