Celebrity square meals #21

Ken Hom's Malaysian Black Bean Fish
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Indy Lifestyle Online

For Chinese New Year I always have a fish dish. My mum used to insist on a whole fish for the family meal on New Year's Eve and that the head must always point to my uncle, who presided. Fish represents reunion and prosperity, so eating it at New Year should insure that our family and wealth stayed together!

Serves 4

450g (1lb) fresh firm white fish fillets, such as cod, halibut or sea bass
2tsps salt
4tbsps groundnut (peanut) oil
1 1/2tbsps coarsely chopped black beans
2tbsps garlic, finely chopped
2tsps fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 small onion, chopped
3 fresh green chillies, seeded and finely chopped
225g (8oz) button mushrooms, sliced
3tbsps spring onions, finely chopped
1tbsp light soy sauce
1tbsp lemon juice
1tsp sugar
1/2tsp salt
1tsp freshly ground black pepper to taste
Garnish: 3tbsps finely shredded spring onions

1. Cut the fish fillets into strips 2.5cm (1in) wide and sprinkle the salt evenly over them. Leave to sit for 20 minutes.

2. Heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat until hot. Add 3tbsps of oil, and when it is slightly smoking, turn the heat down to medium and add the fish strips. Fry these gently for about two minutes or until they are brown on both sides, taking care not to break them up. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Drain off most of the oil, leaving about 1 1/2tbsps.

3. Reheat the wok. When it is hot, add 1tbsp of oil, the black beans, garlic, ginger and onion and stir-fry for two minutes. Then add the chillies and mushrooms and stir-fry for three minutes over a high heat.

4. Add the soy, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir-fry for 10 seconds. Return fish to the wok and cook for a minute. Remove the fish. Stir the sauce well. Garnish the fish with spring onions and serve with sauce on a warm platter.

'Ken Hom's Foolproof Asian Cookery' (BBC Books, £15).