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How to Cook Fish

Your web "Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes" is pretty good, however, I am surprised you donít have any recipes with fish!! Hope you add it soon.


Carlos Tomianovic


Dear Carlos:

We are glad to know you are interested in cooking Chinese dishes.

The good news is that there are quite a lot of recipes with fish on line in this column. Please go and check them and Iím sure youíll find the ones that interest you. For a family dinner, for example, there is Course 6: Sweet and Sour Fish in Squirrel Shape (see the following).

Please note that these measurements are just a guide, and you can adjust the ingredients according to your own taste. Bon Appetite! We will offer more recipes with fish and hope we will be able to help you more.

If we can be of further help, please donít hesitate to contact us.


The editors

(China.org.cn August 1, 2002)

Sweet and Sour Fish in Squirrel Shape


1 freshwater fish (preferably mandarin fish) of about 750 grams (1.65 lb)

30 grams (1 1/15 oz) shrimps

20 grams (2/3 oz) diced bamboo shoots

20 grams (2/3 oz) diced mushrooms (originally dried mushrooms that have been soaked in water)

15 grams (1/2 oz) green peas

20 grams (4 tsp) cooking wine

150 grams (11 tbsp) sugar

100 grams (6 tbsp) vinegar

100 grams (5 1/2 tbsp) tomato sauce

500 grams (1.1 lb) dry cornstarch (only about 100 g or 0.22 lb to be used)

100 grams (6 tbsp) water

35 grams (2 tbsp) mixture of cornstarch and water

10 grams (2 tsp) sesame oil

1,000 grams (4 cups) oil (200 g or 4/5 cup to be consumed)


1. Clean the fish, cut off the head near the belly fin, but do not throw it away. Cut open the fish along its back until the cut reaches its tail. (Do not cut off the tail.) Cut out the backbone and remove the side bones (ribs). Make several cuts with 1 cm spaces in between, first vertically and then horizontally on the inner side of the fish to create a diamond-shaped pattern. (Do not cut open the skin.) Marinate the fish with 10 g (2 tsp) of cooking wine and 5 g (5/6 tsp) of salt for 5 minutes. Dust the dry cornstarch on the fish body and head. Hold the fish tail to shake off unnecessary cornstarch.

2. Heat the oil until it is about 200-220ļC (390-430ļF). Roll the fish to keep the skin inside. Hold the fish tail with one hand and the top end of the fish body with chopsticks and gradually release it into the oil. Now place the head into the oil also. When both are done, take them out and place them on a plate, putting the head and the body together to create the concept of a whole fish.

3. Mix the tomato sauce, water, sugar, 10 g (2 tsp) of cooking wine and 2 g (1/3 tsp) of salt into a sauce.

4. Keep 20 g (1 1/2 tbsp) of oil in the wok. Put in the shrimps, diced bamboo shoots, mushrooms and green peas and stir-fry. Add in the mixed sauce. When the sauce is boiling, put in the cornstarch-water mixture to thicken it. Sprinkle some sesame oil and pour the sauce right onto the fish.

Features: It beautifully resembles the shape of a squirrel.

Taste: sweet and sour, crispy outside and tender inside.

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