Fried Whole Fish with Sichuan Málà Dipping Sauce
With Sichuan Málà Hot Sauce
Whole fish is a classic Chinese New Year dish, whether it's steamed, braised, or—in the case of this family recipe from Lead Artisanal Culinologist Loritta Lin—fried. As a complement, Loritta whipped up this simple dipping sauce featuring our Sichuan Málà Hot Sauce, a fiery distillation of the tingly, floral málà flavor that's a signature of Sichuan cuisine.
Salt, coarse (for cleaning)
Vegetable oil (for frying)
Ginger (1 inch piece, julienned)
|4 Tbsp||Soy sauce|
|1 Tbsp||Acid League Sichuan Málà|
|½ Tsp||Sesame oil|
|1 sprig||Green onion, thinly sliced|
- For the dipping sauce: Combine all ingredients and set aside.
- For the fish: Clean the inside of the fish (very important!). Rub coarse salt all over the fish to clean out the guts and blood on the bones/head to remove the fishy smell. Rinse off the salt with running water.
- Pat the inside and outside of the fish dry with paper towel.
- Score the thickest parts of fish. Cut on an angle by following the fin, deep enough to just feel bones. This will help it cook evenly.
- Season the fish with salt. Use larger amounts of salt on the outer surface and less on the inner cavity. Also season the insides of the cuts. Do this within 30-45 minutes before cooking. Timing depends on how large the fish is (if you season too far in advance, then you’ll lose the fish flavour to the salt). Some water will come out, so pat dry before frying.
- Fill large wok with 1-2 inches of frying oil. Heat over medium-high heat.
- Carefully lower the fish into the hot oil and move it around frequently to prevent sticking. Baste the head and tail with oil and cook until firm on one side, then carefully flip over and cook until the other side is firm as well. Fry until golden brown. To test for doneness, check the scored sections. Cooking time will vary depending on fish size.
- Once removing the fish from oil, quickly fry the ginger until golden brown.
- Scatter fried ginger over your fish and serve.