Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Stir-fried Tilapia with Black Bean Sauce

Although tilapia has been a supermarket staple for years, I've generally avoided the fish because it tends to be a little bland and rubbery. But in this recipe, those qualities are actually advantages: the taste of the fish never competes with the sauce, and its texture stands up to the relative rough cooking method.

(serves two adults and two children)

3 Tbs black bean sauce with chili (or black bean garlic sauce)
1 Tbs oyster sauce
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 lb tilapia filets
1 bunch green onions
1 Tbs peanut oil

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the black bean sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar. Cut each tilapia filet in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 2-inch slices. Add the slices to the marinade and toss gently to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for at least 20 minutes. Meanwhile, trim and slice the green onions into 1-inch lengths.

2. in a wok (or large nonstick skillet), heat the peanut oil over a high flame until very hot. (The oil should be shimmering.) Add the fish pieces. Distribute them evenly around the pan but do not stir. After 3 minutes, add the green onions and stir gently, turning the fish pieces over. Cook, stirring occasionally but gently, until the thickest parts of the fish are cooked through, about another 3 minutes. Serve over rice with an Asian chili sauce such as Sriracha.

• If you don't like black bean sauce, don't worry. Almost any Asian cooking sauce will do. The first time I made this recipe, I was out of black bean sauce, so I substituted chili paste with garlic. The result was a very enjoyable take on Kung Pao fish.

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