After cooking a dish a couple of times, and introducing some of your own innovations, it becomes yours. Like this Fish with Blackbeans and Tofu which has become one of mine and Spouse’s favorites. This recipe is based on a couple of recipes I used in the past.
It’s evolved to be a quick and easy dish, preparation-wise, much simpler than the original versions. I’ve also eliminated the use of cornstarch since I prefer my sauce lighter.
The only difficult step here is the frying of the fish and tofu. I dislike frying anything because of the cleanup that’s required after. But for this, it’s a necessary evil – both the cleaning and the frying…
Fish with Blackbeans and Tofu
5 fish fillets
4 tbsps. flour
1 12 oz. block extra firm tofu, in half inch slices
vegetable oil for frying
1 big garlic clove, sliced thin
1-inch piece of ginger, sliced thin
3-4 tbsps. fermented black beans
2 tbsps. xiaosing wine
2/3 c. water
1 medium-sized red bell pepper, diced
3 green onions, sliced
salt and pepper to taste.
Heat your wok over medium-high heat. Add oil ONLY when the pan is hot. Test temp by putting your open palm over the pan, if you can immediately feel the heat, it’s ready for the oil.
Wait a couple of minutes until the oil gets shimmery at the surface before adding your tofu. This will ensure whatever it is you’re frying doesn’t stick to the pan. Fry until golden brown on all sides. Lower the heat before turning over the tofu, this will help reduce oil splatters.
Meantime, add some salt and pepper to your fish and dust with a light coating of flour. After tofu is done, fry fillets in the same pan, also until golden brown. Set aside. Drain the pan of oil, leaving about a tablespoon. Saute garlic and ginger till almost brown. Add blackbeans and give it a good stir. Add the wine and let the alcohol evaporate a couple of minutes while picking up those brown bits in the bottom of the pan. There will be enough browned bits to thicken your sauce.
Add the water and the rest of the ingredients, including the tofu and the fish. Cook until the red pepper is done, about 3 minutes. Adjust seasoning. Serve with steamed rice.