This is a great recipe for Western Chinese style Crucian Carp, roasted with spring onions, coriander, peppers and other spices.

Advanced Chinese Reading Exercises: Recipe for Onion Roasted CarpI found this recipe on Chinese woman’s cooking blog – the original post has step-by-step pictures, so go have a look if you’d like to try your hand at this recipe.

What I find interesting about this recipe is that it requires the use of an oven, and even more interesting, an oven with space for more than one rack. Until very recently, you couldn’t find a Chinese home with an oven in it for any price, and if you wanted to bake, it usually meant a trip to a German appliance store to buy a mini counter-top oven. These days, I’m seeing more and more real estate ads featuring homes with ovens, so this recipe, in my opinion, is a sign of the times.

In step 2 of the recipe, the author instructs us to 控干水分 after the fish has marinated for an hour. Not being much of a cook myself, I had quite a bit of trouble sorting out what 控干水分 meant exactly, being that it’s a culinary technique having something to do with moisture control. Searching the Chinese ‘net turned up the answer: this means to allow excess moisture to strain or seep out of an ingredient. For leafy vegetables, this would mean putting them in a strainer and lightly shaking the water out, or letting it drip out. For meat, this likely means lightly patting it with paper towels to soak up excess moisture, or letting it sit on paper towels to soak the moisture out.

If anyone out there’s a chef and knows a better way, by all means, do tell.

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烹饪 – pēng rèn – Culinary arts
约定俗成 – yuē dìng sú chéng – To be established due to popular use
腌制 – yān zhì – Marinate
料酒 – liǎo jiǔ – Cooking wine
孜然 – zī rán – Cumin
鳞 – lín – Fish scales
鳃 – sāi – Fish gills
锡纸 – xī zhǐ – Tin foil



材料: 鲫鱼2条、葱100克、姜4片、小红椒2个、香菜50克。

调料: 料酒1大勺、香醋1大勺、盐5克、胡椒粉1/2小勺、十三香1/2小勺、孜然粉1/2小勺、花椒粉1/2小勺、香油1大勺。

  1. 鲫鱼去、肠洗净滤干,在鱼背上用刀划几道后放入盘中,姜片分别放入鱼腹中;
  2. 加料酒、香醋、盐5克、胡椒粉、十三香抹匀腌1小时;
  3. 烤盘铺上锡纸,将香葱摆放在盘底,腌好的鱼控干水分,两面刷油后放在葱上;
  4. 烤箱预热至180度,烤盘放入中层,烤15分钟;
  5. 取出烤盘将鱼翻面,再烤15分钟;
  6. 取出烤盘再在鱼身上刷层油,撒上孜然粉、花椒粉、红椒圈和香菜梗,再入烤箱烤2分钟;
  7. 取出撒上香菜叶即可。

See original recipe with pictures


I remember over a year ago I did a local Shangai dish, Onion Roasted Carp, and as a result, one of my internet friends pointed out that I shouldn’t have called it “Onion Roasted Carp”, it was actually “Onion Dried Carp”. Because of this, I checked a bunch of sources, including character dictionaries, word dictionaries and encyclopedias, and found that my online friend was right, “Roasted” and “Dry” [both are pronounced kǎo in Chinese] are two entirely different culinary methods. Naturally, the cooking materials and texture are also completely different, I just don’t know why local restaurant menus all write it “Onion Roasted Carp”; I think it was just established that way from popular usage, as something that everyone understands, and perhaps the habit just became the norm?

Today’s Onion Roasted Carp really is roasted. After the carp is marinated, it’s put into the oven and baked before it’s done. This Onion Roasted Carp isn’t that Onion Dried Carp, those are two entirely different flavors. Onion Dried Carp has a Shanghai flavor that’s thick with oil and red sauce, while Onion Roasted Carp has a complex bouquet made from a wider variety of ingredients and elements, and has a dense Western [Chinese] flavor, also very fragrant and delicious!

Ingredients: Two Crucian carp, 100 grams of spring onion, four slices of ginger, two little red peppers, 50 grams of coriander

Seasonings: A big spoon of cooking wine, 1 big spoon balsamic vinegar, 5 grams of salt, 1/2 small spoon of ground pepper, 1/2 small spoon Thirteen Spice, 1/2 small spoon cumin powder, 1/2 small spoon of Sichuan pepper powder, 1 big spoon sesame oil.

  1. Take off the scales, gills and intestines and clean the carp. On the fishs’ back [side], use a knife to make a few cuts [the cook doesn't mean to cut all the way through the fish, just to make a few slices in the skin], place the fish in a dish, then place a few of the ginger slices in each fishs’ stomach.
  2. Add the cooking wine, balsamic vinegar, 5 grams of salt, ground pepper and thirteen spice so that the fish is evenly covered, and let marinate for one hour.
  3. Spread tin foil on a cooking pan, arrange the onions in the bottom of the pan, allow excess moisture to strain out of the mariated fish, then rub oil on both sides of the fish and place them on top of the onions [in the cooking pan].
  4. Pre-heat the over to 180 degrees [Celcius], place the cooking pan on the middle rack, and let cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Take the pan out of the oven, turn the fish over, and put them back in the oven for another 15 minutes.
  6. Take the pan out of the oven and again spread a layer of oil on the fish, sprinkle with cumin, Sichuan pepper, red pepper slices and coriander stalks, then put it back in the oven to bake for another 2 minutes.
  7. Take it out and sprinkle the top with coriander leaves, and that’s it.

One comment to "Recipe for Onion Roasted Carp"

  1. Reply Alexia Rossano says: March 19, 2018 at 4:39 am

    great content

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