zoom Dry-braised sea bream

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    Dry-braised sea bream

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    Dry-braised sea bream

    “Dry-braising is a speciality of the Sichuanese capital, Chengdu. It involves simmering the main ingredient in a rich sauce until the liquid reduces to a syrupy glaze.”

    • Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus marinating
    • Cooking time: 15 minutes
    • Total time: 25 minutes 25 minutes

    Serves: 4


    1 sea bream (about 500g), cleaned and scaled
    1 tsp cornflour
    6 tbsp groundnut oil
    1 tbsp chilli bean sauce
    2 tsp finely chopped fresh root ginger
    2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    4 salad onions, white parts shredded
    1 x ½ red pepper, cut into strips
    1-2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
    200ml chicken stock
    1 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
    1 tsp sugar
    1 tsp toasted sesame oil


    1 x ¼ tsp salt
    1 x ½ tbsp shaoxing rice wine
    3cm fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced


    1. To marinate, make 3 or 4 diagonal cuts on both sides of the fish. Rub inside and out with the salt and wine, and put the ginger in its belly; set aside for 20 minutes.

    2. Discard the ginger from the fish; pat dry. Rub the cornflour into the cuts. Heat 2 tbsp groundnut oil in a wok over a high heat and sprinkle with a little salt to prevent sticking. Fry the fish for 3-4 minutes, turning once, until golden. Set aside.

    3. Discard the oil and wipe the wok clean. Add the remaining oil and, over a medium heat, stir-fry the chilli bean sauce until the oil is red and fragrant, then stir in the ginger, garlic, onions, pepper and chilli, if using. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.

    4. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Add the wine and sugar, then slide the fish into the wok. Simmer for 6-7 minutes, spooning the sauce over the fish and turning it once, until the fish is cooked and the sauce is syrupy.

    5. Ease the fish onto a serving dish. Stir the sesame oil into the sauce and pour over the fish, then serve.

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