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Fish is traditionally eaten on Chinese New Year because the Mandarin word for fish is ‘Yu’ and during the festival there is a phrase called ‘Nian nian you yu’, which translates as ‘Every year you have abundance’ – whether it’s wealth, luck, happiness, good health or all of the above! In addition to the usual ‘Gong xi fa cai’ (wishing good fortune), this is a popular phrase.
The Chinese serve the fish whole, as it symbolises unity and ‘completeness’. When using fillets, the ‘incompleteness’ can be compensated for by serving uncut whole wheat noodles (uncut noodles symbolise longevity) with a soy, sesame and spring onion sauce to drizzle over the dish.... Read more.
Heat some groundnut oil in a large wok on a high heat. Add the fish to the wok (skin side down, if using cod), pressing lightly on each of the fillets as it cooks. Cook for 3–4 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium.
Turn the fish over and sprinkle the garlic, ginger and chilli over the fillets. Cook for a further 3–4 minutes (depending on the size of the fillet) until the flesh has turned opaque and flakes when poked with a pair of chopsticks or a fork.
Season with the soy sauce and sesame oil and spoon the sauce over the fish. Add the spring onion strips and chopped coriander and cook until the herbs have wilted slightly.
To serve, garnish the fillets with the wilted herbs and serve immediately with scented rice or dressed whole wheat noodles and steamed vegetables.
Tip: Cod is a great alternative to monkfish in this recipe, but keep the skin on and cook skin side down first until crisp and golden. Ensure when buying cod though it comes from sustainable sources.
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