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Wednesday, April 25


Growing up, my mom did the majority of the cooking. She liked to cook dinner in the basement (to keep the upstairs clean) and then bring the dishes upstairs once she's done. Then she'd go back downstairs to clean up.  

Meanwhile, I'd be in my room doing homework. Once I smelled the food though, and man did it smell GOOD, I would always somehow end up in the kitchen sneaking in a few bites here and there.  However, a few turned into A LOT and by the time my mom came back up, she'd find half of her cooking gone! I know.. I know.. I was horrible huh? My mom never got upset though and sometimes she'd ask me to come out and we'd end up finishing the food together. She's the best isn't she?! :) For those of you wondering right now, yes she'd cook AGAIN so that my dad would have something to eat. ;) 

Now my dad was one of those people who rarely cooked. Not because he didn't want to, but because he was always busy working to provide for our family.  On those rare occasions when he did though, his dishes always turned out A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Did I also mention that he never follows recipes? So not fair, right? ;) 

When we went back home earlier this month, my dad shared with me this delicious and super easy recipe.This Szechuan boiled fish is a popular dish that he knew I loved. He tweaked the recipe a little and figured out a simple way to prepare it.

3 T grapeseed oil (any oil is fine)
2 Swai fish fillet or Basa (cut up into bite-sized pieces)
4-6 ginger slices
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 tsp salt
2 T cornstarch
1 T rice wine
1 C water

1 T Szechuan peppercorn 
1/2 tsp of ground Szechuan peppercorn powder (grind peppercorns using 
a food processor or a mortar and pestle)

2 T chili bean sauce
1 T spicy chili crisp hot sauce
2 T cornstarch
1/2 T homemade chili oil 

2 C of chopped romaine lettuce (placed in a heatproof dish that you will be serving the fish in)*

*Broccoli also works great with this dish too! Steam or stir-fry separately and then combine with the fish before serving.  

Marinate the fish with ginger, white pepper, salt, cornstarch and rice wine for 2 hours in the fridge.  

Heat the peppercorns in a large wok for about 3 minutes over high heat.  Add the oil and stir around for about a minute until fragrant.  

Add the fish and gently stir them around in the oil. Add the chili bean sauce and spicy chili crisp sauce and mix everything well.  

Pour in the water and cook until it comes to a boil.  Turn down the heat to medium low and let it simmer until the fish turns white and are no longer opaque.  Mix the cornstarch with 2 T of water in a bowl and then add this mixture to the fish to thicken the sauce.  

Immediately pour everything into the heatproof dish with the raw romaine lettuce and stir around to gently cook the lettuce.  

Drizzle with chili oil and ground pepper.  Serve over rice.  

Since we were cooking for E too, this recipe was made not as spicy as the traditional Szechuan boiled fish.  However, if you'd like to turn up the heat, simply add more of the peppercorn and chili bean sauce.  Also normally this dish is served with celery and Nappa cabbage.  I chose to use Romaine lettuce as a healthier substitute. :)


  1. Looks really good Weiya...I'm a big fan of fish. I'll try it out sometime.

  2. Thank you for sharing your Dad's recipe.

  3. Nice recipe, can you replace Basa with beef?


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