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1 pound ling cod or other firm white fish
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
½ cup sliced scallions
2 egg whites
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups vegetable oil
1 pound asparagus
1 cup fish paste
4 teaspoons Thai-style chile paste
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and reduce to a paste. It should have the consistency of cookie dough. If it is not dry enough, add more cornstarch.
Heat the oil to medium in a wok or other deep, heavy vessel. Take 3 or 4 asparagus spears in one hand and about 2 or 3 tablespoons of fish paste in the other. Wrap the fish paste around the middle of the sheave to bind it together. Drop it into the hot oil and deep fry for about 3 minutes, or until the fish paste is set and just beginning to brown. Remove and drain. Repeat, cooking three or four sheaves at a time. Combine the remaining fish sauce and chile paste and drizzle over the cooked sheaves.
To reduce calories, cook the sheaves in boiling clarified chicken or fish stock. You could also use green beans, or bell peppers cut into thin strips lengthwise.
If you don't want to make your own fish paste, you can buy it from any Chinese supermarket or fishmonger. It is important that the chile paste have enough sugar content to taste. Thai style is good.