Poh's favourite hotpot dish, which features salted mackerel - a fantastic ingredient!


  • 1/2 cup (125ml) vegetable oil

  • 1 x 80g salted mackerel cutlet (available from Asian grocers, vacuum packed or bottled in oil)

  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons finely shredded ginger

  • 230g pork mince

  • 100g prawns, minced or finely chopped

  • 5–6 largish dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated in boiling water for 20 minutes, stems removed, squeezed and sliced (reserve liquid)

  • 1 large (700g) eggplant, cut into

  • 2 x 6cm thick batons

  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 1 tablespoon shaoxing rice wine

  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce

  • 2 cups (500ml) unsalted chicken stock (see page 49) or shiitake liquid or water

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 2–3 spring onions, cut into 3cm batons

  • 1 teaspoon cornflour

  • 1 teaspoon chilli oil coriander leaves, to garnish steamed jasmine rice, to serve


  • 1.

    In a small frying pan or wok, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium heatand shallow fry the mackerel until golden and crisp. The cutlet sometimes will fall apart when you are removing it from the oil. Don’t worry.

  • 2.

    Drain the mackerel on paper towel, remove and discard bones and dark meat, and setaside. Only use 40g of the mackerel, otherwise your dish will end up too salty.

  • 3.

    Clean the wok completely or use a large saucepan. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat.

  • 4.

    Lightly sauté the garlic and ginger until pale golden.

  • 5.

    Add the pork mince. Stir-fry until cooked. Add the prawn mince and mushrooms, and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Add the eggplant and stir-fry for 30 seconds.

  • 6.

    Finely crumble the fried mackerel into the mixture.Add the sesame oil, the shaoxing, rice wine vinegar, oyster sauce, chicken stock or shiitake liquid or water. Cover and leave to braise for 10 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender. Stir in the sugar and spring onions.

  • 7.

    Ladle 2 tablespoons of the sauce into a small mixing bowl, add the cornflour

  • 8.

    And stir until there are no lumps.

  • 9.

    Make a well in the middle of the wok by stirring continuously, pour the cornflour mixture into the well and stir until it boils and thickens considerably. Stir so the cornflour mixture is evenly distributed.

  • 10.

    Cook for another 30 seconds and season with more of the mackerel, if required.

  • 11.

    Drizzle with the chilli oil and garnish with the coriander.

  • 12.

    Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Nutritional information

Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)

  • Energy 506kj
  • Fat Total 40g
  • Saturated Fat 5g
  • Protein 20g
  • Carbohydrate 15g
  • Sugar 6g
  • Sodium 326mg

Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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If you can’t be bothered traipsing around an Asian grocer to find salted mackerel, you can substitute with 6–7 large Italian anchovy fillets, which I’ve done when I’m desperate.
Although the flavour achieved is quite different, it does do the job by providing some depth to the salty characteristic required for the dish, which, like many Italian dishes that use anchovy, is not necessarily about the fish flavour being very prevalent.

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