I am introducing this dish to you in order to demonstrate a Chinese method of cooking called “Bao Chao” 爆炒.

Often, one translates “chao” 炒 as stir-frying but that is only one of the two ways how one stir-fries. Literally translated as “explosive stir-frying”, “Bao Chao” often incurs fire in the wok. To accomplish this dish, you must have a good wok that heats up very quickly as well as a good source of heat, either fire or induction, otherwise you can never “Bao Chao” anything.

How to perform the “Bao Chao” method of stir-frying: First, you have to pour your oil into the wok BEFORE you turn the fire on. Swish your wok a little so that the oil moistens most of the internal surface before falling back again in the centre. Turn the heat on full until the oil starts to smoke. You then place your ingredients very quickly into the smoking oil, and because the ingredients are a bit moist, the contact will create the fire you want to cook the ingredients. I would also use a wok with a round bottom, which is the traditional shape of a wok, so that you can toss the ingredients without using a ladle or spatula.

For this recipe, the cooking time is about 45 seconds.

I suggest that you place your fillet in the freezer for an hour so that slicing is easier. It has to be thinly sliced, about 1cm in thickness maximum.

Ingredients:

  • 7-8 stocks of large spring onions, cut into 5cm long stocks
  • 200-250g fish fillet, deboned and deskinned
  • 1 tbs corn starch
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 dash of white pepper powder
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce 生抽
  • 5 tbs Shaoxing rice wine 绍兴酒
  • 1 dash of sesame oil 麻油
  • 3cm fresh ginger, sliced
  • 10 tbs frying oil

Serving: 2 persons

 

Instructions:

  1. First marinate the fish: add salt, pepper, light soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of Shaoxing rice wine, a few drop of sesame oil to the fish, on a plate. Carefully mix the marinate without tearing the fish. Once done, lay out the slices neatly on a plate and sprinkle the corn starch lightly over the fish. Set aside.
  2. Pour your vegetable oil into the wok and turn the heat up full. Once the oil start smoking, add in the ginger then your fish, take care not to splash the oil.
  3. If there is a fire, lift your wok up and jerk it forward so as to toss the ingredients backwards. This will normally stop the fire.
  4. Put the wok back onto the stove and add in the rest of the Shaoxing wine and spring onions. Cover for about 10 seconds.
  5. Turn off the fire. Pour the dish onto a plate and serve piping hot. Enjoy!

*Note: I use a white fish for this recipe: pangasius or cod. The rice wine would not go well with tuna or salmon.

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