We close the 15-day Chinese New Year celebration with today’s recipe for Crispy Striped Bass Fillets. We’ve already published recipes for Sweet & Sour Pork and Chinese Cornish Game Hens.
 
In Chinese culture, fish  represents abundance, and it’s rich in protein to stimulate the mind. This creative recipe has been furnished by Executive Chef Andy Kao of Panda Express. All of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store. 

Crispy Striped Bass Fillets

Serves 2

2 striped bass, cleaned, scaled, heads removed
2 (12-inch) wooden skewers, cut into 3 pieces each (6 pieces total)
2 quarts vegetable oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup cornstarch
Dipping sauce (recipe follows)
 
With sharp knife, cut striped bass along back, starting about 3 inches below tail. Scrape knife against bones to free fillet, keeping skin intact. Repeat on both sides of fillet and cut out bones. (Fish tail remains intact, attached to 2 boned fillet pieces that will be spread on plate after cooking.)
 
Insert 1 skewer into tail. Insert 2 skewers into fillets on either side of tail. (This holds fish in place during cooking.) Repeat with remaining striped bass.
 
Heat oil in large wok to 350°–375°F (or in deep saucepan large enough to hold fish). Brush both sides of fish with soy sauce and coat lightly with cornstarch. Gently slide fish into hot oil and cook 6 to 8 minutes, until lightly browned.
 
Remove from wok and place on serving plates. Carefully remove skewers and spread out fillet sides, with tail up for dramatic presentation. Serve with dipping sauce. 

Dipping Sauce

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons finely minced ginger
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely minced onion
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon Chinese garlic and red chili paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced red fresh chili
2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 2 teaspoons cold water
 
Heat oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in ginger, garlic and onion; cook, stirring, 2 minutes, or until onion is softened.
 
Remove from heat and whisk in remaining ingredients. Return pan to heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat; keep sauce warm while cooking fish.
 
Recipe and photo courtesy of Panda Express