Szechuan cuisine is famous for its bold flavours and liberal use of chilli peppers. In the list of aphrodisiac foods chilli peppers stand shoulder to shoulder with chocolate.
Some Spanish priests during the 19th century even preached sermons against indulgence in a food which they said was almost as “hot as hell’s brimstone” and “Soup of the Devil,” …this only made chilli peppers more popular.
Chilli peppers are also used in multiple cultures to promote cardiovascular health and to alleviate pain. So this quick and spicy recipe is a winner all the way ! Once again this recipe proves that fast food can be good food. I prepare this dinner for my family within 20 minutes…it has colours, flavours and all the goodness of fish and vegetables.
Once again, it can be modified to include whatever is available in your fridge and pantry. Replace fish with chicken or prawns, add your favourite vegetables or make a completely vegetarian version with tofu instead of meat.
You can serve it as a starter for some elaborate meal or with steamed rice or noodles for a more filling meal. In our house, usually the stir fries disappear as soon as they are done…the aroma that fills the house makes it impossible to wait till dinner is served properly!
For Szechuan Fish and Vegetable Stir fry :
4 fillet Sole or any white fish
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 inch piece ginger, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled, cut on the diagonal
1 zucchini, cut on the diagonal
1 green bell pepper, cut on the diagonal
1 small head broccoli, cut into bite size florets
1 cup French beans,trimmed
For Fish Marinade :
2 egg whites, beaten
1 tablespoon corn flour
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive or sunflower oil for stir frying vegetables
1 tablespoon olive or sunflower oil for pan frying fish fillet
For Szechuan Sauce :
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon red chilli paste
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon corn flour
This Is What You Do :
Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl, dip the fillet and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare the vegetables and set aside.
Mix all the ingredients of Szechuan sauce in a bowl and keep handy.
Heat a tablespoonful oil in a nonstick frying pan. Pan fry the fish fillet till golden, flip and fry the other side. Remove from pan and keep warm.
Heat another tablespoon oil in the same pan.
Add ginger and garlic, sauté for a few seconds till aromatic.
Add the harder vegetables, like carrots, beans and broccoli. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes or till they are half way done.
Add the softer vegetables and stir fry another minute. Add the sauce and mix to coat the vegetables, stir fry another minute.
The vegetables should be cooked but still crunchy and fresh looking.
Serve hot with fish fillet on top. For extra heat and kick serve red chilli paste and sliced green chilli peppers in vinegar on side.
Makes 2 servings