When the girls were quite young and we were starting to introduce them to Chinese food, they quickly developed their own favorites. Like many kids their age, sweet and sour pork and fried pork spring rolls (lumpiang Shanghai) were dishes they almost always ordered. But there was a third dish, fish fillet with sticky corn sauce, that they loved and looked for in the menu whenever we ate at a Chinese restaurant.
Unfortunately for the girls, fish fillet with sticky corn sauce wasn’t (still isn’t) served in most Chinese restaurants. We enjoy the dish only when we go to President Grand Palace and Causeway Seafood Restaurant (see a recent photo). So, I learned to cook fish fillet with sticky corn sauce by eyeballing everything.
This is my version of that beloved dish.
Chinese-style Fish Fillet With Sticky Corn Sauce
For the sticky corn sauce
Make the sauce
Roughly chop the corn kernels.
Stir the starch into the liquid from the can (plus vegetable broth) until dissolved.
In a sauce pan, heat the cooking oil. Saute the garlic and onion until aromatic and softened. Add the corn and continue cooking until heated through.
Stir the starch solution again (the starch has a nasty way of settling at the bottom) and pour into the pan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until thickened and clear. Simmer uncovered for five minutes.
Off the heat, season the sauce with salt and pepper. Keep hot.
Cook the fish
Over high heat, start heating the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan.
Wipe the fish fillets dry with paper towels. Cut into serving size pieces. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper on both sides.
Whisk the flour and starch together. Pour in enough ice-cold water to make a fairly thin batter (the ideal consistency is thinner than pancake batter).
Dip each piece of fish fillet in the flour-starch mixture to cover completely.
When the oil is hot (you should see fine wisps of smoke float on the surface), drop in the battered fish fillets. Cook in batches if necessary so as not to overcrowd the pan and make the temperature drop. Depending on the thickness of the fillets, cook for three to five minutes or until the batter has turn crisp and lightly browned and the fish is cooked all the way through. For even cooking, flip the fish fillet midway through the frying.
Arrange the fish fillets on a plate. Pour corn sauce over them. Optionally, you may garnish your Chinese-style fish fillet with sticky corn sauce with sliced scallions before serving.