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FISH IN CHINESE COOKING

Fresh fish

Fish is a greater delicacy than meat and poultry in Chinese food. The cooking of fish is also a more delicate matter. A Chinese restaurant is often known by the chef's skill in fish and a new Chinese cook is also often tested by his fish.

The charm of Chinese seafood is the way in which vegetables are combined with it to make more of the fish itself. Each is independent of the other, yet each depends on the other for the excellence of the dish. While westerners rarely, if ever, cook fish and vegetables together, the Chinese, for the most part, do just that. There are almost as many ways of cooking fish as there are ways of cooking. Fish is even eaten raw, for which salmon and cod are good.

Fish from the sea is much used along the coastal provinces of China but fresh-water fish plays a much greater part in Chinese cooking than in the west. The Chinese ways of cooking probably make it so. Restaurants and even households often buy live fish and keep them swimming in tanks until needed for use. For celebrations and parties the Chinese serve fish whole. A headless, tailless fish is considered incomplete and unaesthetic. There is a practical reason for leaving the fish intact: fewer juice escape during the cooking process.

Of sea fish, bluefish, whitefish, flounder, cod, salmon, bass, and fresh sardine can make good Chinese dishes. Shad and mullet are partly sea and partly river fish. Shad is a great delicacy in China. Of fresh-water fish, carp and buffalo carp are the most important in Chinese fish dishes.

Give me a fish, I eat for a day. Teach me to fish, I eat for a lifetime. - Robert Louis Stevenson

Common methods fish are prepared in Chinese

There are two ways of cooking fish plain in China, steaming and simmering which are both a good choice from a nutritional point of view because unlike frying, they do not increase the fat content. To steam, the fish is placed in a plate with seasoning and very small amount of water, and the dish is placed on a rack in a wok with boiling water. Alternatively, instead of plate, you can use the bamboo steamer but that's not a good idea really because the sweet juices seep out of the fish will drip right down into the boiling water. The aluminum steamers is your best bet if you are concerned that boiling water in the wok will remove your hard-earned seasoning. Only a good-sized fish is worth cooking in this way.
An alternative method apparently just as good is to clear-simmer it. You put the fish together with the small amount of liquid seasoning directly into the pot and bring to boiling over high heat and reduce heat to simmer as soon as boiling starts. Never let boiling continue hard or it will ruin the fish. Shad, bass, pike, and mullet and plaice are suitable for clear-simmering.

The Chinese word for fish is pronounced "yu". The same pronunciation is given to the word "remain". From this coincidence the Chinese developed a tradition of serving fish at celebrations and happy occasions: The fish ("yu") served at the meal "guaranteed" that the happiness felt by the participants would remain "yu") for a long time.

Remember that fish, like most other foods, continues to cook even after you remove it from the heat source. So, try to stop the cooking before the dish is done.

Steam Fish

"Governing a great nation is like cooking a small fish - too much handling will spoil it." (Lao-tzu, Chinese philosopher)

On a Healhty Note:
Researchers found that fish consumption is associated with decreased heart rate in men, which may explain why eating fish decreases the risk of sudden death. A trial involving about 9,700 men without heart disease were followed up and found out that men who ate fish had a significantly lower hear rate than men who did not eat fish.

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CHINESE FISH RECIPES

- Steamed Fish Chinese-Style
- Baked Fish Fillet Chinese- Style
- Crispy Baked Fish Chinese-Style
- Easy Chinese Fish Fillet recipe
- Salmon in Chinese Pesto Sauce
- Honey-Barbequed Fish Chinese -style
- Poached Fresh Fish
- Fried Fish with Celery
- Steamed Fish with Black Beans
- Braised Fish with Hot Soy Bean Paste (Sauce)
- Deep Fried Spiced Fish
- Braised Eel with Garlic and Turnip
- Five Spice Cod Fish
- Yellow Croaker in Vinegar
- Honey Lemon Fish Fillet
- Cat Fish with Garlic Sauce
- Deep Fried Yellow Fish
- Flounder in Ginger and Vinegar Sauce
- Double Fillet with Pineapple
- A Whole Fish of Colorful Assortment
- Grass Carp with Broad Bean Paste
- Large Unicorn Garoupa
- Deep-fried Mandarin Fish Pieces
- River Eel with Garlic
- Dace Balls with Lettuce
- Stewed Yellow Croaker Potage
- Deep Fried Fish in Sweet Sour Sauce
- Smoked Mini Pomfrets
- Steamed Fish Slice with Preserved Prunes
- Mackerel Steaks in Tomato Sauce
- Fried Pomfret in Orange Sauce
- Cod Fish in White Sauce
- Sweet and Sour Deep-Fried Carp

- Fish Slices in Batter with Sweet & Sour Sauce
- Stewed Eel with Garlic
- Stir Fried Eel with Celery
- Soy Sauce Carp
- Deep fried White Meat Fish
- Braised Whole Croaker in Hot Sauce
- Soy-Braised Cod or Halibut Steak
- Red-Cooked Fish
- Fish w/ Tofu in Hot & Sour Sauce
- SoftFried Sole Fillet in Wine Sauce
- Chinese Steamed Fish
- Crispy Fish in Batter
- Garlic and Eel Casserole
- Steamed Bass with Mushrooms
- Fish Head, Tofu and Mushrooms
- Sliced Eel with Garlic Hearts
- West Lake Fish in Vinegar
- Deep Fried Fish Sticks
- Grass Carp with Assorted Shreds
- Sweet and Sour Yellow Croaker
- West Lake Fish with Vinegar
- Fried Yellow Fish with Moss
- Steamed Coiled Eel with Bean Sauce
- Crisp Eel
- Baked Fish Mouths with Bean Sauce
- Steamed Fish with Sweet-Sour Sauce
- Fish with Bean Curd
- Braised Salmon with Soy Beans
- Fried Fish Fillets
- Fish Chips in Tomato Sauce
- Teochew-style Steamed Fish
- Steamed White Pomfret
- Poached Fish Chinese Style



The Secret of Cooking Fish

Fish with gingerHalf the secret of good cooking lies in de-fishing the fish or moderating the strong odors that is released as fish cooks. Western fish dishes often taste fishy because they have no wine, ginger, or shallot in them. The most important part of cooking fish the Chinese way is to use wine and other de-fishers. These materials also improve the flavor and congeals the flesh, which remains firm. Rice wine of ordinary quality is the cooking wine of china. Never use distilled liquor for cooking, as it will spoil the taste. Vinegar is a de-fisher, besides contributing one of the most interesting tastes itself. There is another very important method of de-fishing the fish: in some Chinese dishes, fresh ginger is cooked for half a minute in the oil in which the fish is to be fried and then discarded. This, in some subtle way, diminishes the fishy flavor and makes the dish, more acceptable to those who do not care for seafoods.

How to Buy and Prepare Fresh Fish

It is most important that fish should be very fresh. ICod Fisht goes bad very quickly and should be cooked as soon as possible. The following are criterias to look for when buying fresh fish...

How to scale and fillet fish for cooking...


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Last Modified: 11/28/11.