This is another of the nouvelle cuisine of Sichuan that has popped up in the last few decades, together with Shuizhuyü 水煮鱼 and Suancaiyü 酸菜鱼 – both recipes which I have also covered This particular dish showcases the green mastic-leaf prickly ash peppercorn native to the region. Lesser known than the normal Sichuan pepper, Qinghuajiao 青花椒 as it is known in Chinese, is less numbing but incredibly aromatic. Upon contact with heat, the prickly heat peppercorn releases a huge burst of fragrance!
Unlike the red coloured Sichuan pepper, the green Qinghuajiao is usually sold fresh in a bunch. Dried versions are of course less fragrant but can be stored and exported.
This Tengjiaoyü 藤椒鱼 recipe is sweet, less numbing yet extremely spicy as opposed to Shuizhuyü 水煮鱼 which is very numbing and saltier. The base of the two are also different, with Tengjiaoyü 藤椒鱼 lined with noodles and greens while Shuizhuyü 水煮鱼 is lined with soya beansprouts.
Warning: This recipe can create fireworks of lingering aromas in your kitchen!
The original recipe called for a whole fresh fish but this recipe has been modified for the use of fish fillets.
- 3 whitefish fillet (if using whole fresh fish, make fillet and use skin and bones to make fish stock; see below)
- 2 tbs corn flour
- 200ml white fermented rice wine
- 2 tbs Qinghuajiao 青花椒 (Zanthoxylum schinifolium) or mastic-leaf prickly ash
- 6 dried red chilies
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 stocks spring onions
- 5 cm fresh ginger, sliced
- 750ml fish or chicken stock
- 2 tbs Pixian Doubanjiang 郫县豆瓣酱 bean paste
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 tsp salt
- White pepper powder
- 1 pack potato glass noodles
- 2 stocks Baby Bokchoi 小白菜 or Chinese Celery 芹菜
- 6 fresh Thai chillies (mixed colours)
- Sprig of coriander
Serving: 2 persons
- Slice your fish gently, marinate with rice wine, 1 tsp salt, dash of white pepper, 4 slices of ginger, sliced white part of the spring onions. Leave it for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put your noodles and baby bokchoi (or sliced chinese celery) in a bowl. Pour boiling water over it, cover. Leave aside for 15 minutes.
- Discard the ginger and spring onions from your marinated fish. Gently cover the fish slices with corn flour.
- Discard the water from the noodles and greens. Line your serving bowl first with the cooked noodles then the greens.
- In a pot, heat 200ml of oil on medium heat. Pour in half of your peppercorns and stir fry until the fragrance is released. Add in the garlic cloves, sliced green part of the spring onions, the rest of the ginger, and lastly the Pixian Doubanjiang bean paste.
- Once the fragrance has been released, add in the fish stock and bring to boil. Add sugar and salt to taste.
- When the pot of stock is boiling hot, add in the fish slices one by one taking care not to break them. Turn the heat to low.
- Pour your fish and stock into the serving bowl. Garnish with cut fresh Thai chilies and coriander.
- Very quickly in a small saucepan, heat up 100ml of oil on high heat. Add the rest of the peppercorns and cut dried red chilies. Once the fragrance is released, pour the mixture over the fish in the serving bowl.
- Serve immediately!