Sole with Sherry and Bean Sauce


serves 3-4
1 lemon sole, about 575 g (1 1/4 lb)
1 lb (450 g) Chinese egg noodles
3 garlic cloves, crushed
4 spring onions, finely chopped
2.5 cm/1 inch piece of fresh root ginger peeled and shredded
1/3 cup (3 fl oz) 90 ml fermented black bean sauce available from Chinese supermarkets
2 tbls (25 g) sugar
3 tbsp (60 ml) corn oil
3 tbsp (60 ml) dry sherry
oil for deep frying
browned almonds to garnish


1. Cook the noodles in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for about 5 minutes or follow packet instructions. Drain thoroughly and set aside to cool completely.

2. Mix the garlic, spring onions, ginger, bean sauce and sugar in a bowl. Heat the corn oil in a saucepan, add the bean sauce mixture and 30 ml (2 tbsp) water. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Cover the pan and remove it from the heat.

3. Leave the head and tail on the fish, but trim the fins and remove the gills. Rinse and dry well. Rinse the fish again inside and out with the sherry, catching the liquor in a bowl. Place the fish in a dish and sprinkle with the reserved sherry. Cover and place in the perforated top section of a large steamer. Alternatively, cook fish between 2 plates over a saucepan of boiling water for 10-15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile put the oil for deep frying into a deep wide saucepan to a depth of at least 7.5 cm/3 inches. Heat the oil to 180-190°C (350-375°F) or until a cube of bread added to the oil browns in 30 seconds. If using a deep-fat fryer, follow the manufacturer's instructions.

5. Put some of the noodles into a wire basket and lower them carefully into the hot fat. Fry for 2-3 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Drain on absorbent kitchen paper and keep hot while frying the rest of the noodles.

6. Transfer the fish to a serving dish. Add the cooking liquid from the fish to the sauce and reheat it to boiling point, then pour it over the fish. Garnish with the almonds and serve with the crisp noodles.

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