Chinese whole fried fish, coating or not?

Discussion in 'Whats Cooking? Food, Drink, & Gear' started by Paraffin, Jan 8, 2019.

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  1. Jan 8, 2019 #1

    Paraffin

    Paraffin

    Paraffin

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    My wife is out of town for a week, so I'm experimenting with things I've never done before that may or may not work (while the cat's away... etc.). Something I've never tried before, is a whole fish deep fried in a wok. I have a 16" wok, Viking wok burner, and a big exhaust hood. I deep fry Chinese meals all the time but never done the whole fish thing.

    I have two reference cookbooks that have this recipe and technique info -- "Modern Art of Chinese Cooking" by Barbara Tropp and "All Under Heaven" by Carolyn Phillips. Both have almost identical advice and sauces, but they differ on coatings. The Tropp book says just salt the fish and scalloped slices in the skin, and slide it into the oil. The Phillips book says salt, then coat the fish and slices with cornstarch first, and then fry.

    I'm leaning towards the no-cornstarch coating as maybe a more authentic and less Cantonese-American dish? But maybe it needs a little coating. Has anyone here done this? I'm not sure I've ever had fried fish without a batter.

    BTW, I have a good local fishmonger. Not the best time of year for this, but I should be able to get something small enough and fresh enough for the wok.
     
  2. Jan 8, 2019 #2

    panda

    panda

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    Seasoned cornstarch
     
  3. Jan 8, 2019 #3

    refcast

    refcast

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    No cornstarch: crispest skin cause the oil will gelatenize the skin and you get protein snappiness in the crunch. Or if you don't fry long enough, you can get dissapoint.

    Seasoned cornstarch: more fluffy crunch on the crust and you flavor the fish. Just a ta more tender cause the cornstarch kinda locks moisture in a bit, not as much as a batter, but noticeable.
     
  4. Jan 8, 2019 #4

    Paraffin

    Paraffin

    Paraffin

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    Yeah, the advice in the Pillips book isn't a wet batter, just a dry coating of corn starch. There is probably a halfway point here with just a very light dusting of the flour after salt.

    So maybe I'll try the light dusting first. Maybe potato starch, which I use for most of the Chinese things I've been cooking instead of corn starch. Thanks for the feedback. I'll post pics if it works.
     
  5. Jan 8, 2019 #5

    boomchakabowwow

    boomchakabowwow

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    I coat. I salt first. Then a light dusting. Cornstarch.

    I’ve used plain flour before while camping and it worked as well.

    I make a few slices in the thicker parts of the fish to facilitate cooking.
     

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