Chinese Recipe: West Lake Fish In Vinegar Sauce

Zhejiang, getting the Land of Fish and Rice, has a vast wide variety of fish dishes. Just one of the famed fish dishes is a neighborhood delicacy from Hangzhou, which is the West Lake Fish in Vinegar Sauce or the Xi Hu Cu Yu. In Hangzhou, their dishes are generally named right after a well-known put or a well known individual and usually have some interesting stories behind them.

Xi hu Cu Yu is from time to time referred to as as “Sister Tune&#39s Treasure”. The interesting story at the rear of it is about the dying of the older brother, and Sister Track, the spouse cooked the fish with sweet and sour sauce to encourage the hunger of the grieving younger brother. The sauce is sweet and bitter, as a symbol of the sweetness of daily life, and bitter to remind them of the bitter oppression for the commoners and for their grieving. Obtaining eaten the fish with sweet and sour sauce, the younger brother left town. He was enormously moved by the importance of the dish he just ate and he manufactured sure to gain fame and fortune in advance of he went back to Hangzhou to avenge his elder brother and to seem after his sister-in-legislation.

In other variations of the story, the youthful brother grew to become an authority various many years right after, and in a person banquet that he attended, the same dish which is the fish in sweet and sour sauce was served. He was surprised and questioned the host who cooked the dish. He identified out that it was his sister-in-regulation who experienced been a helper to stay away from reprisal.

This dish could be named soon after the gorgeous and ever famed drinking water wonderland, West Lake, but do not be concerned since any white fish can be employed for this recipe.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 Total Fish – approx 2 lbs (grass carp, snapper, sea bass or any white fish)
  • 6 cups h2o
  • 4 – 5 slices of ginger
  • 1 stalk scallion – finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar – or black (Chiangkang) vinegar if accessible
  • 1/4 cup sugar – brown or white sugar can be utilized
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • Chinese Celery (Qin Cai) – for garnishing


In the regular way of making ready this dish, the fish is put in a basin of drinking water and starved for 2-3 days to get rid of any muddy style.

  1. Wash or rinse the fish. Make confident to get rid of gills, and scales. Using a sharp knife, slice 2 or 3 diagonal cuts on each side of the fish.
  2. If you want to make it inventive, slice 2 – 3 diagonal cuts on a single aspect of the fish. And then on the other side, you can also slit the flesh from the tail up to the head of the fish. Do this by carefully urgent on the fish whilst slicing from the tail, and alongside the backbone.
  3. In a substantial pot, convey the 6 cups of drinking water to a boil alongside one another with the scallion and ginger. Make confident to have sufficient water to address the fish so you don&#39t have to convert the fish as it may perhaps crack the flesh.
  4. Poach the fish for about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and then established aside.

For the sauce:

  1. Boil ½ cup of h2o. The water utilised to boil the fish can be made use of for the reason that of the added taste from the ginger and scallion. Alternatively, hen stock may possibly be employed.
  2. Insert in the soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar. Simmer around a medium heat to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Blend the rice wine and cornstarch in a bowl, prior to pouring it in to thicken the sauce. Make absolutely sure to stir constantly to stay clear of lumps.
  4. Take away from warmth and time with salt. Black pepper is optional.


Put the fish in a platter and pour the sauce about. For garnishing, set some slices of Chinese celery (qin cai) on major. You could also set a sprint of sesame oil or minced garlic prior to serving.

Others have their very own design of cooking this dish. They marinate the fish in lemon juice and salt in advance of poaching it, whilst other people use rice wine as a substitute of lemon juice for the marinade. Some like it crispy, so they deep fry the fish rather of poaching it.

If entire fish is not available, you may perhaps also use fish fillet. On the other hand the common Chinese persons say this it is bad luck to use chopped fish for this dish, specially during the Chinese New Calendar year.

Resource by James A Bruce

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.