Seafood

Fish-head and Beancurd in Casserole

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Fluffy Rice

1 fish-head of about 1 lb.
1 pc. (about 1 cup) beancurd
1 tablespoon dried shrimps
7 tablespoons clean, white lard
1 tablespoon wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cooking wine
1/2 teaspoon gourmet powder
a pinch of pepper
1 young garlic stalk
2 tablespoons scallion
2 teaspoons ginger root

1) Remove gills and fins from fish-head. Cleave it open at the middle. Wash clean and drain.

Cut beancurd into small pieces of about 1.1/4X1/2X1/4 inches. Leave it soaked in a pot of hot water.

Cut scallion into lengths and ginger root into slices.

Split down garlic stalk with a knife and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

Wash dried shrimps and soak them in warm water.

2) Heat fry pan on fire. Put lard in, turn round pan so that lard covers well its bottom. Pour excessive lard back. Keep pan off fire and add wheat flour. Stir-fry flour on low fire and when the big bubbles it produces become small ones, pour in quickly 3.1/3 cups of boiling water. This becomes a creamy stock. Pour it into a clay pot or casserole.

3) Heat pan. Cover bottom again well with lard. Put fish-head in to fry a little on both sides. Transfer it into clay pot (or casserole). Add scallion lengths, ginger slices, salt, cooking wine, pepper and dried shrimps (together with soaking water). Bring to a boil on high fire and, changing to low flame, keep it simmering under cover for about an hour. When fish-head is about ready, add beancurd and gourmet powder. When the pot boils again, sprinkle on chopped young garlic stalk and serve.

Notes:

(1) The fish-head is well-cooked in this dish, the beancurd is tender and of a light taste, but the stock is richly flavored. A dish and soup in one, it goes well with rice Ч a great favorite in China with the elderly, especially in winter.

(2) Instead of fish-head, the same recipe may be followed in making either the middle section or the head and tail of a fish and will be called accordingly.

The taste would be further enhanced if a little each of winter bamboo shoots (cut in slices), dried mushrooms and dried shrimps could be added to the stock.

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