Seafood lovers, you’ll be impressed with this recipe! Fried to a perfect golden crisp, yet tender and juicy on the inside, you can make these fish filets yourself. Also known as JiLi Fish Filets in Chinese, JiLi directly translates to exciting or joyful. It also sounds similar to the Chinese word for custard, which Chef John uses here for a surprising twist as he shares some of his recipe tips and secrets.
Chef John’s Easy Crispy Fish Fillets
PRE TIME: 15 min
COOKING TIME: 25 min
TOTAL TIME: 40 min
- 1 lb. Strawberry grouper fish
- 1/2 half Lemon
- 1/2 tsp. Garlic salt
- 1/2 tsp. Onion powder
- 1/4 tsp. White pepper
- 1 tbsp. Shaoxing wine
- 1/8 tsp. Sugar
- 2 tsp. Custard powder
- 1 large Egg
- 1½ tbsp. Corn starch
- Coating flour
- 3 cup Bread crumbs
- 1 tbsp. Custard powder
- 2 qt. Cooking oil
- 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup Chef made chili sauce
Wash clean the scaled fish, make sure to remove the black membrane inside, cut off the fins.
Place the fish on a cutting board, remove the head. While firmly pressuring the fish with one hand, place the blade as close to the bone as possible, slice the fish horizontally crosswise until the whole fillet is off, and remove the fin and belly flap. Then cut the fish into 4 large pieces.
Marinate the fish: combine the fish, lemon, garlic salt, onion powder, ground white pepper, Shaoxing cooking wine, sugar, custard powder, egg, and cornstarch, mix completely, set aside.
Coating flour: On a large flat tray, mix 3 cups of bread flour and 1.5 tbsp custard powder, Evenly coat the fish pieces with the mixture, and firmly press the flour onto the fish pieces to prevent falling. Set aside. (Press the flour firmly onto the fish pieces to prevent falling.)
In a large wok over high heat, add 2qt cooking oil; as the oil temperature reaches 300°F/150°C, evenly place the fish in a frying basket, deep fry for 2-3 minutes until lightly golden, remove from the oil. Using a fine sieve, remove the floating crumbs from the wok. As the oil temperature back up again, quickly re-fry the fish for 30-40 seconds until golden, then drain. (re-fry is the key and a must.)
Plating: you may serve the fish with salad, mayonnaise, and chili sauce. It's all depending on your personal preference.
Note: Choose fresh and less fishy fish, Rex sole is another good choice.
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