Fish in Spicy Chili Oil 水煮魚

Water-boiled Fish Recipe 水煮魚
Here is an inspiration for your next April Fool’s joke.

Go to your favorite local Sichuan restaurant with your non-spicy food eating friends. And order the “Water-boiled fish” or Shui Zhu Yu 水煮魚in Chinese and tell your friends that this is a light dish from “healthy diet” section.

Then, just sit back and watch their ridiculous reaction once they see the dish 🙂

OK, all kidding aside but if you are ever in the market for a mouth-burning and tongue-numbing authentic mala Sichuan dish, look no further than this  “Water-boiled fish” or Fish Fillet in Spicy Chili Oil as I always prefer to call.

Water-boiled Fish Recipe 水煮魚

After all, this fish dish has all the classic Sichuan cuisine elements such as Ma (from the tongue-numbing Sichuan peppercorns) and (La from spicy chili pepper), aromatic spices, and chili oil.

Yes chili oil, and in this case lots of it, is a key ingredient that holds the rich and spicy flavor in this dish. So if you ever have to skip an ingredient please make sure this is NOT the ingredient you skip.

As for the fish, I like to use white fish such as cod which, when cooked correctly, should melt in your mouth with a minor explosion from all that ma la flavor (especially if you you accidentally bite into one of those tongue-numbing Sichuan peppercorns).

If you are intimidated by that thick layer of hot oil and piles of dried chili and peppercorns, you can easily adjust the recipe to suite your palate.

In fact, this recipe is meant to serves as an introduction to the famous “water-boil” dishes. You can substitute fish with any protein you prefer. The common proteins used are pork, beef, lamb, and tofu.
Water-boiled Fish Recipe 水煮魚
The spiciness level in this recipe is purposely tuned down to make the recipe more adaptable to everyone. If you are into spicy food or authentic Sichuan style, use more chili and peppercorn in the spicy broth and also double the ingredients for hot oil!

Bottom line, if you like other spicy dishes such as Sichuan hotpot, then you’ll absolutely love this dish. If you are the one who gets irrigated with the slightest trace of hot sauce, then you’ll want to skip this one.

Now without further ado, let me help you dissect this fiery Sichuan dish with step by step recipe instructions.

Yield: 2-3 servings

Prep Time:20

Cook Time:15

Total Time:35

Make this classic Fish Fillet in Spicy Hot Oil following this step-by-step recipe at yireservation.com

Ingredients:

  • 1lb fresh fish fillet
  • 1lb cabbage or napa
  • chopped scallion and cilantro for garnish

Spicy Broth

  • 1.5tbsp Sichuan Spicy Chili Paste
  • 3 dried chili, cut into smaller segements
  • 1tsp Sichuan peppercorn
  • 3 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 slice ginger
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 1/2tsp five spice powder
  • 1.5 cup water

Fish Marinade

  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp white pepper powder
  • 1tsp cooking wine
  • 1tbsp corn starch
  • 1 scallions, cut to smaller pieces
  • 1 slice ginger, cut to smaller pieces

Hot Oil

  • 1/4 cp cooking oil
  • 3-5 dried chili, cut in half

Directions:

Slice the fish filet to ¼” thick slices and transfer to a bowl. Cut up napa or cabbage and set aside{Recipe} Fish Fillet in Spicy Chili Oil 水煮Add salt, white pepper powder, and corn starch to the fish. Mix gently and set aside{Recipe} Fish Fillet in Spicy Chili Oil 水煮Heat up 1 tbsp of cooking oil in a skillet. Add Sichuan bean paste, garlic, ginger, peppercorn, chili and sauté over low heat for 1 minute or until aromatic{Recipe} Fish Fillet in Spicy Chili Oil 水煮Add five-spice powder and stock or water and bring to boil.  Add salt to taste if necessary. Let the spicy broth simmer for about 10 minutes. At the same time, bring 4 cups of water and 1 tbsp of salt to boil in a medium pot{Recipe} Fish Fillet in Spicy Chili Oil 水煮Boil the vegetable until fully cooked. Remove the vegetable from the pot and drain off the excess water{Recipe} Fish Fillet in Spicy Chili Oil 水煮Transfer the cooked vegetable to a large serving bowl{Recipe} Fish Fillet in Spicy Chili Oil 水煮Over medium heat, add marinated fish slices to the spicy broth. Gently separate the slices with a spatula. Let fish cook for about 5 minutes or until just cooked{Recipe} Fish Fillet in Spicy Chili Oil 水煮Transfer the fish filet and spicy broth to severing bowl where the vegetable is{Recipe} Fish Fillet in Spicy Chili Oil 水煮Heat up ¼ cup of oil in a skillet until smoky, about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and add dried chili to the hot oil and immediately pour the hot oil onto the fish. Sprinkle some chopped scallions for garnish and serve immediately{Recipe} Fish Fillet in Spicy Chili Oil 水煮
This recipe serves as an introduction to the famous “water-boil” dishes. You can substitute fish with any protein you prefer. The common proteins used are pork, beef, lamb, and tofu.The spiciness level in this recipe is purposely tuned down to make the recipe more adaptable to everyone. If you are into spicy food or authentic Sichuan style, use more chili and peppercorn in the spcy broth and also double the ingredients for hot oil!

Water-boiled Fish Recipe 水煮魚

22 comments

  1. 9

    可否share 黃金蝦 recipe

  2. 8

    This sounds lovely, will be giving this a try, thanks for sharing.

    Simon

  3. 7

    YUM – My wife will no longer say cod has no flavor!  And yes I can see using this on pork belly as well!!!  with a little sweet added!

  4. 6

    I love anything spicy so this will definitely be  one perfect meal for me 

  5. 5

    Looks wonderful! Order this dish almost every time I eat at a Sichuan restaurant! 

  6. 4

    Love your cooking,  thanks Yi

  7. 3

    Hello, Yi….

    I am so delighted see this recipe. We moved from Lynnwood, WA, to AZ several years ago. Our favorite restaurant there was a Szechuan restaurant owned by Chef Huang. Everything he made was wonderful but our favorite is (still!) Hot Spicy Stewed Chicken. I think this might be the recipe….except there was much, much more heat. And oil. No need to tone it down for us as we ordered maximum stars. Since we no longer live there, we have been desperate for a recipe. The chicken was so tender and silken. Would it be made like this fish, or would it be more like the pass-thru method? I would love to know how to make it here in AZ. I have not yet found anyone who could get even close. Any help you can give me in recreating the chicken version would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Yi! And thank you for sharing.

    • 3.1

      Hi Irene, thanks for the question. Do you happen to know restaurant name? I’d have a much better idea if I can take a look at a picture of the dish in question. A lot of Sichuan dishes have similar looks but the recipes can vary widely so I’d like to make sure if this particular chicken dish is what I think it is. Thanks.

    • 3.2

      Hi, Yi! Yes. The current restaurant name is Szechuan Garden in Lynnwood WA. There are no pictures on his menu. There are pictures of his Hot Spicy Stew Fish which people have posted. At his current restaurant, the Hot Spicy Stew Chicken is not on the menu but he made it for us anyway. (It was on the menu at his former restaurant.) I am going to give you several links which may help you. This one is a picture of Chef Huang’s Hot Spicy Stew Fish. It has cabbage underneath like yours does. I did not find a picture of his Hot Spicy Stew Chicken:
      http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/szechuan-garden-lynnwood?select=83pAtnOSRjVD06AUyDjedw (Sorry….no hyperlinks. You’ll have to cut and paste.) This is a picture of his menu for his Hot Spicy Stew Fish: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/szechuan-99-lynnwood?select=cz28FkpyQEafizBVBi5tyA A blurb about Chef Huang: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/szechuan-99-lynnwood?select=Sz5L8g1dMZp-rHUxOLTZlA Oh, yes, we like the Hot Spicy Stew Fish too and will try yours next week….finally. And Chef Huang’s Cumin Lamb is also to die for! Thank you very, very much, Yi, for trying to help us out. Enjoy the holidays!

      • Thanks Irene for all the information. The hot spicy stew fish has the same Chinese name as my fish in spicy chili oil. If you want to make something similar, you’ll have to use more chili pepper and spicy bean paste than the amount I have listed. I’ll see if I can recreate the chicken dish. Happy holidays!

    • 3.3

      Wow! That would b e terrific, Yi! Thank you so much! Happy Holidays to you too!

  8. 2

    This looks like my kind of dish! I’ve heard of this never had it. Need to correct that, don’t I? 🙂 Really nice — thanks.

  9. 1

    One of my favourite Szechuan dishes. Those fish slices are so succulent and delicious.

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