Sichuan influenced wok fried fish

Whole fish soak up lots of spicy flavours in Matt Tebbutt's exotic main course, full of authentic Chinese flavours
By Matt Tebbutt
Sichuan influenced wok fried fish
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • 2 whole sea bass or snapper, small enough to fit in a wok whole, scaled and gutted
  • groundnut or rapeseed oil, for deep frying

For the marinade

  • 2 tbsp shoaxing wine
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cm piece fresh root ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

For the sauce

  • 100 ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp shoaxing wine
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar

For the coating

  • 3-4 tbsp potato flour
  • 1 tbsp toasted sichuan peppercorns, ground

To garnish

  • 2 tbsp whole sichuan peppercorns, toasted
  • 2 spring onions, shredded
  • 3 cm knob fresh root ginger, julienned
  • 1 small handful dried red chilli, roughly sliced then briefly fried in a little groundnut oil
  • sesame oil, for drizzling


1. Slash the flesh of both fish at evenly spaced intervals along the body on each side.

2. For the marinade mix together the wine, chopped onions, ginger and soy sauce in a shallow dish then rub over the fish, making sure that the marinade gets into all the slashes. Leave the fish to marinate in the dish while you prepare everything else.

3. For the sauce: combine the stock, soy sauce, wine and sugar in a small pan. Set aside.

4. For the coating: mix together the potato flour and ground Sichuan peppercorns, then season the flour with a little salt.

5. Pour enough of the oil for deep frying into a wok so it comes about half way up the sides of the wok. Heat the oil to about 180C. Use a thermometer to check the temperature. Remove the fish from the marinade and wipe off any bits that are stuck to it. Dust the fish inside and out in the flour, shaking off any excess. Carefully place the fish in the hot oil and deep fry for about 8 minutes, or until the skin is crisp but not burnt and the inside is opaque and flaky. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. While the fish is cooking, gently heat the sauce ingredients until the sugar has dissolved.

6. To serve, lay the fish on your serving platter, pour around the sauce and garnish with the peppercorns, spring onions, ginger, and fried chillies, drizzling over a little sesame oil to taste at the end.

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