West lake fish is a traditional Chinese dish whose name comes from a lake in Hangzhou, a city in the Zhejiang province of China. For this dish the fish from this lake would be cleansed in a special way to remove the mud and grime, then poached and served with a delicious vinegar based sweet and sour sauce.
In this version of this delicious traditional fish it is preferable to use a fresh whole carp, however you can use any white fish and even fish fillets if you wish. This version is also steamed instead of poached for a simpler approach. Try this traditional West lake fish recipe and let me know what you think in the Chinese food forum found here. Enjoy!
1 whole fresh fish cleaned (preferably carp)
¼ inch piece of fresh ginger
2 green onions
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Shao hsing wine
3 tbsp sugar
¼ cup Chinese brown vinegar
3 tbsp cornstarch
- Butterfly the fish by cutting it lengthwise all the way down the center of the belly, without slicing through the back, leaving the tail intact on just one side. You can have the fishmonger do this for you if you wish. Then score the side with the tail, by making 4 to 5 horizontal slices. Place the fish on a large plate butterflied with the skin side up.
- Peel the ginger and mince it into tiny pieces. Then sprinkle this ginger on top of the fish.
- Rinse the green onions under cold water and dry them thoroughly. Then dice them into small pieces and set them aside.
- Next, make sure you have a steamer with a basket large enough to fit the entire plate with fish on it. Bring the water to boil for the steamer. Then place the plate with the fish and ginger inside and let it steam for 10 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.
- While the fish cooks prepare the vinegar sauce. In a small pot mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce except for the cornstarch and heat this mixture on high.
- In a small cup mix the cornstarch with water and stir until it dissolves.
- When the sauce mixture comes to a boil add the cornstarch mixture and stir until it thickens the sauce. Then remove it from the heat and check on the fish.
- When the fish is cooked through carefully remove the plate from the steamer pouring off any water.
- Then pour the sauce over the fish, top it with the green onions and serve. This makes 2 servings.