The interesting thing about this dish is that the fish is not smoked. It acquires a smoky taste from being first marinated in soy sauce and wine, then deep-fried in hot oil, and finally marinated in the specially prepared sauce.
1 lb (450 g) cod steaks or cutlets (or any other firm white fish)
2-3 tbsp soy sauce
2-3 tbsp Chinese rice wine or sherry
2 spring onions, finely chopped
2-3 slices fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp Five Spice powder
1/2 pt (280 ml) stock or water
about 1 pt (600 ml) oil for deep-frying
Never use fish that has been frozen. Chilled fish should be patted dry with kitchen paper or towels and should not be cut into small pieces or skinned.
Marinate the fish with soy sauce and wine for at least 30 minutes, turning them over once or twice. Remove the pieces and add to the marinade the finely chopped spring onions, ginger root, sugar, Five Spice powder and stock or water. Bring this mixture to the boil in a small saucepan, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes or so. Strain through a fine sieve and keep the sauce.
Heat up the oil in a deep-fryer or wok until very hot (you will see a haze forming above the surface of the oil), drop in the fish steaks or cutlets one at a time and fry for about 5 minutes or until they are crisp and golden. Then pick them out with chopsticks or a perforated spoon and immerse them in the sauce to cool for 15-20 minutes before laying them out side by side on a dish to dry.
The remainder of the sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days and used again.
© Deh-Ta Hsiung and reproduced with his kind permission.