The Easiest and Best Salt and Pepper Fish Recipe
One of my all time favorite dish to order at Chinese restaurants is Salt and Pepper Fish. Generally, I try to avoid eating fried foods but every now and then, who can resist a crispy, salty hot piece of fish? At home, I began getting requests from family and friends to make this fish dish and after several trials and errors, decided on my favorite Salt and Pepper Fish recipe that results in a nice, crunchy exterior without deep frying. My reason for not deep frying in this case wasn’t even for health reasons; I just don’t like deep frying at home unless absolutely necessary. It’s kind of a hassle and usually ends up with a lot of wasted oil. Enjoy my easy version of Salt and Pepper Fish!
Serves 2-3 Family Style
1 lb (~1/2 kg) Cod Fish (substitute any firm white fish), cut into large bite-sized chunks
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt + 1/2 teaspoon + for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon white pepper + 1/2 teaspoon + for sprinkling
Oil for pan-frying (use vegetable, peanut or canola)
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 large Jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper to thoroughly combine. Set aside.
Prepare a baking sheet or large plate and cover with paper towel. Set aside.
Rinse the cod under cold water and gently shake off excess water. Place all the washed fish in the large bowl with the dry ingredients. DO NOT pat the fish dry. The wetness will help the dry ingredients to stick on the fish, creating its own batter of sorts. Gently toss the fish chunks in the dry ingredients until well coated. The fish will be semi-wet and sticky to the touch. Make sure each fish chunk has some coating on it though.
Heat a large pan on medium high heat with enough oil to generously coat the entire bottom of the pan. Once the oil is hot, gently place fish chunks to cover the pan with a bit of space in between the pieces. You’ll have to do this step in two batches (or if you’re skilled, you can have 2 pans going at the same time). Don’t overcrowd the pan; we want crispy fish, not steamed fish. Pan-fry the fish for about 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. When the fish is done, it should remove easily from the bottom of the pan. Place the cooked fish chunks on the paper towel lined pan.
Using the same pan (you should still have oil left over from cooking the fish), still on medium high heat, toss in the garlic, jalapeno slices, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper. Pan-fry for just about 2 minutes until garlic and jalapeno begin to just lightly brown. Turn off the heat.
Arrange the fish on a serving plate. Sprinkle a large pinch of salt and white pepper evenly over the fish chunks. Place the garlic and jalapeno slices over the fish. Serve immediately with warm jasmine rice and a side dish of vegetables.