SHUI ZHU YU 水煮魚

Shui Zhu Yu 水煮魚

Whenever I visit a Sichuan restaurant, I have to order the Shui Zhu Yu (water fish). To me, this dish is the measure of authenticity for the entire menu. The numbing, peppery flavour is one I crave for often. After eating different versions of Shui Zhu Yu at many Toronto restaurants, and making it at home using pre-packaged spice mixes, The Hubby and I decided to try making the recipe from scratch. I was surprised with how easy it was to make and how well it turned out. However, I did have a secret ingredient available, Sichuan peppercorns straight from China that were incredibly fragrant (much more than the ones I’ve bought in Toronto). I would adjust the number of peppercorns and peppers depending on personal preference and the strength of the spices.

Shui Zhu Yu
Serves 4
A traditional Sichuan dish highlighting the cuisine's signature numbing spice flavour
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 large basa fish fillets (2 cups sliced into chunks)
  2. 2 tbsp rice wine
  3. 3 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, finely ground
  4. 1/2 cup oil, seperated into two 1/2 cups
  5. 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  6. 1 inch chunch of ginger, sliced
  7. 3 green onions
  8. 1/8 cup ground red chilies
  9. 1/4 cup dried red chili peppers
  10. 2 bay leaves
  11. 2 star anise
  12. 1 cinnamon stick
  13. 1 tsp fennel seeds
  14. 2 tbsp spicy doubanjian, fermented soybean paste
  15. 4 cups bean sprouts (or more)
  16. 2 cups water
  17. 1 tbsp soy sauce
  18. salt to taste
  19. 1 cup of cilantro, chopped
Instructions
  1. Marinate the basa fillets in cooking wine for 15 min.
  2. Grind the peppercorns until fine, I used a manual coffee grinder for this.
  3. Roughly chop the green onions into 1 inch long sections.
  4. In a pot on medium heat, add half the oil, garlic, ginger, half of the green onions, ground red chilies, dried red peppers, bay leaves, star anise, cinnamon stick and fennel seeds. Stir until the garlic begins to brown and the spices become fragrant.
  5. Add the doubanjian to the pan and stir constantly. Add the water, soy sauce and bring the pot to a boil.
  6. Add the fish slices to the pot, making sure there's enough liquid to cover the fish. Cook until the flesh turns opaque. Once the fish is cooked, add the bean sprouts to the boiling pot, pushing them to the bottom. The bean sprouts just need to be blanched for 1-2 minutes.
  7. In another pan on medium heat, heat up the remaining oil until it just begins to smoke.
  8. Top the fish with the remaining green onions, ground Sichuan power, additional dried pepper s (optional), in a pile. Pour the hot oil onto this pile before serving.
xiaoEats | Toronto Food Blog http://xiaoeats.com/
Shui Zhu Yu 水煮魚
Assemble spices and grind Sichuan peppercorns

Shui Zhu Yu 水煮魚
Assemble ingredients

Shui Zhu Yu 水煮魚
Chop fish into chunks

Shui Zhu Yu 水煮魚
Marinate fish in cooking wine

Shui Zhu Yu 水煮魚
Stir fry the ginger, garlic and spices on medium heat until aromatic

Shui Zhu Yu 水煮魚
Stir fry the ginger, garlic and spices on medium heat until aromatic

Shui Zhu Yu 水煮魚
Add doubanjiang

Shui Zhu Yu 水煮魚
Add water, soy sauce and fish, cook until the fish becomes opaque

Shui Zhu Yu 水煮魚
Add remaining green onions and ground Sichuan peppercorn, pour over with hot oil

  • Cathy

    What is the purposed of pouring the other half of the heated oil on top of the fish at the end?

    • http://xiaoeats.com xiaoEats

      The purpose is to pour the oil onto the raw green onion, spices and peppers, this brings out their fragrance much more.