When the girls were quite young and we were starting to introduce them to Chinese food, they quickly developed their own favorites. Sweet sour pork and fried spring rolls were dishes they almost always ordered.
But there was a third dish, fried fish fillet with corn sauce, that they loved and looked for on the menu whenever we ate at a Chinese restaurant. This Cantonese dish is especially popular in Hong Kong.
To make sure that the fish fillets are hot and crisp when you serve the dish, start by seasoning the fish. Any firm fleshy fish is good for this dish, but catfish fillets are best. While the fish soaks up the seasonings, make the sauce.
Boil corn kernels, chicken broth, corn water, salt and pepper, then drizzle in starch dispersed in water to thicken it. Cook until the liquid is no longer opaque.
Off the heat, slowly pour in a beaten egg and stir. You now have your sauce. Time to cook the fish.
Lightly flour the fish fillets. This makes the batter stick to them better. Dip each floured fish fillet in batter then deep fry until golden and crisp.
Then, you just assemble the dish. Pile the crispy fried fish fillets on a plate or in a shallow bowl, pour the sauce over them, garnish with scallions and serve immediately.
Chinese fried fish fillets with corn sauce
- 500 grams fish fillet cut into thin slices
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup sweet corn kernels (we used canned)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ¼ cup corn water (from the canned corn)
- salt to taste (depending on how well-seasoned the chicken broth is)
- pepper to taste (again, depending on how well-seasoned the chicken broth is)
- 2 teaspoons tapioca starch or corn starch
- 1 medium egg lightly whisked
To cook the fish
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- cooking oil for deep frying
Season the fish fillets
- Wipe the cut fish fillets with paper towels to remove excess moisture.
- Toss the fish fillets with salt and pepper, and set aside.
Cook the corn sauce
- In a sauce pan, boil the corn kernels with the chicken broth, corn water, salt and pepper.
- Dissolve the starch in two tablespoons water, then slowly pour into the sauce, mixing as you pour.
- Cook over low heat for about two minutes, stirring often, until the sauce is thickened and no longer cloudy.
- Turn off the heat and pour the beaten egg in a thin stream.
- Give the sauce a quick stir and set aside.
Fry the fish fillets
- Make the batter by mixing all the ingredients with half a cup of water (see notes below).
- In a wok or frying pan, heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of at least two inches.
- Lay the seasoned fish fillets in a single layer and sprinkle flour on both sides.
- Dip each floured fish fillet in batter and drop into the hot oil.
- Fry the fish fillets (in batches if your wok or frying pan is not that large) until a crisp golden crust forms.
- Drain the fish fillets on a stack of paper towels.
Assemble your fried fish fillets with corn sauce
- Arrange the fried fish fillets on a serving plate (or on individual plates or bowls) and spoon the corn sauce over them.
- Optionally, sprinkle in some sliced scallions before serving.