Chinese spicy fish Hunanese style


DSC_0136

This right here is a fish. This fish is adorned with everything chili. The reds and the greens are just variants of chili.

Before I begin this post, let me tell you exactly why there are so many chillies in, and on the fish. I live in the wonderful Hunan Province in China, where the food is soul witheringly hot. It’s so spicy that your intestines beg for mercy, your tongue commits hara kiri and your lips give up on you. It’s so maddenigly hot that the tears from your eyes are just the beginning. It’s the food that all Hunanese people take pride in and the unbelievable part is that it is absolutely addictive. Once you’ve eaten a tear inducing morsel, you wouldn’t stop. You would be in danger of being disoriented but you will keep shoveling it in your mouth. It’s a perfect blend of extreme spice, vinegar, salt and LOVE. Of course you’d hate your macho instincts next morning.. just saying…

This fish and a lot of other Hunanese speciality was  prepared by my dear friend ‘Nana’ and her husband ‘Mr. Ye’ who always invite us (i.e le moi and the vegetarian husband) to treat us to some of the most extreme yet exciting and delicious food.

DSC_0072My friend Nana

DSC_0088her husband Mr. Ye aka the talented cook

DSC_0099the poor dead fish that was to be cooked. It was a huge monster really.

DSC_0095industrial quantities of dried red chillies (incidentally also the name of this blog)

DSC_0094Enough garlic is also not enough. as many garlic cloves you can find

DSC_0090Green chillies, as many as you can feats your eyes on. this recipe has no moderation. You can make it as spicy or as non spicy as you want. Though the spicier the better.

DSC_0102the fish had to be cut, because it was too big for even the big wok.

DSC_0103Into a very hot wok with a generous amount of oil.

DSC_0104It sizzled I tell you, it sizzled so loud I couldn’t her my phone ring. This was cooked for about 5-7 minutes per side

DSC_0112Cooked side up. All this was happening pretty fast though. The wok was being shaken, the fish being rotated, the sizzling and the smoke and the typically Chinese expertise in lifting the wok every some time from its extremely high flame.

DSC_0116The fish is almost done on both sides.

DSC_0118The mangled fish. Admittedly not so pretty but this isn’t nearly done. The tail is given the same treatment and removed on a plate.

DSC_0124This is the seasoning, the spice, the soul of the fish.

Once the fish including the tail was entirely cooked, it was removed to a plate and into the remaining hot oil some water was added along with the dried red chillies, salt, some chicken stock granules and garlic

DSC_0126A good stirring and some soy sauce, vinegar

DSC_0127back in with the fish and the tail

DSC_0128making sure the fish is well rested on the chillies.

DSC_0129 Mr. Ye added a big of glug of ‘baijiu’ which is a Chinese alcohol (it’s 51% alcohol), extremely strong and crazy. He told me Vodka would work just as well, and I believe a man who handles a wok on fire with such grace.

DSC_0130Soon enough the lid was clamped on for about a minute, nothing more.

DSC_0135Unveiling of the done fish. He didn’t think there were enough chillies, so he added another 30 grams worth vinegary red chillies.. For aesthetic purposes you see.

DSC_0136This is the fish now done. Oh so spicy, so colourful, so wonderful, so bold and so addictive.

This recipe is really nothing defined, once can actually prepare according to your love for the spices. In case if you’re not into chillies then really this isn’t for you at all. However if you happen to love the hot stuff, by all means make it and you will not regret it.

Ingredients

whole fish of your choice. (cleaned and deboned mostly)

dried red chillies chopped coarsely 20-25 pieces

garlic crushed and sliced thin 8-10 cloves.

green chillies sliced thin 10-12 in nos.

Spring onions cut thinly 2-3 in nos.

oil at least 40 mls ( roughly 2.5 tablespoons)

salt to taste

water or chicken stock 100 mls

Chicken stock granules 15 gms (omit if using chicken stock)

vinegar 10 mls (2 teaspoons)

soy sauce 10 mls

baijiu or vodka 30 mls

Recipe:  in a large wok enough to accommodate the fish, heat the oil on a high flame. The oil should start smoking, then add in your fish and cook both sides until almost done.

remove the fish on a plate and in the oil add the chillies followed by the water or chicken stock and let it heat. Add in the garlic, salt and chicken stock (if you are using water). Stir around and don’t let the heat drop, the wok should be fairly hot at all times. If the water evaporates add in more but keep enough to not let anything burn.

Put the fish you’d removed back into the wok, placing them atop the chillies and the thin coating of sauce.

Pour in the alcohol and let it bubble and catch fire.

Clamp on the lid for roughly 1 minute, throw the spring onion on top and serve hot and eat with rice.

Disclaimer: Prepare this fish at your own peril, for this is ferociously hot. Keep a very cold beer upon your person while feasting on the beast. A tub of ice cream is highly recommended post this debauchery.

– Also you can adapt this recipe to suit your spice needs, you can go for mellower chillies, reduce the quantities of chillies etc., but for the full on flavour and a kick to your senses prepare it just the way Mr. Ye did.

Enjoy!!

Spicy green Coriander Chutney


This Technicolour green, diabolically spicy chutney is one of my mom’s recipe’s, and I have adopted this with absolutely no changes. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and if it’s magnificent then just blindly follow it.

So this post, is in fact a tribute to my mother’s food, and the colours she brings out in it and the fact that all I know is all from her.

To this day, this chutney hasn’t tasted as glorious as my mother’s,but still to the naked eye it’s pretty darn good.

Now before I start its recipe, I just need to tell you that this is great with anything. Eat it with mashed potatoes, grilled chicken, omelette, parantha, as a salad dressing (make it mild in which case), as a dip for chips, fritters etc etc.. but my absolute favourite way to eating this is, slathered over a buttered toast. Oh how it brings out the flavours..

Anyways.. I haven’t any step by step pictures because I forgot.. but anyway…

Ingredients

coriander a whole bunch- washed and De stalked with just the leaves. (hard to tell the weight cuz its just leaves and really how many were they. I think mine was around 1/2 cup about 20 gms. a bunch is a better specification)

3 fat cloves of garlic

2 tsps cumin seeds

2 green chillies- the smaller more evil ones.

2 dried red chillies (also incidentally the name of my blog)

1 tsp salt (to your taste actually- but not under salted please)

1.5 tsp dried mango powder

1 tbsp water

Yes, you’re wondering why so many chillies..it’s spicy coriander chutney isn’t it?  but seriously if you’re a bit worried about so much evil deliciousness, by all means reduce the chillies.

The rest is easy.. just put all the ingredients in your mixer jar and whizz for a couple of minutes on high till all’s combined and green. Make sure the garlic cloves are all minced in and not a speck of anything identifiable remains.

That’s all folks.. this can be refrigerated for a few days and tastes best when fresh out of a jar, though once you’ve tasted it it;s hard to stop eating.  Eat it with whatever you wish, but seriously try it on a butter toast.. magnifique..