I declared this my favorite cod recipe to date. The flavor profile was spot on for me, although it may be a bit too spicy for some. In that case, cut back on the number of dried chiles.
The Sichuan Braised Cod recipe from Fine Cooking makes a for quick and healthy supper, especially when served with a side salad. Only the two of us were sharing the meal so we bought a smaller piece of fish—just over a pound—and cut it into 3 equal sections.
The original recipe instructs you to flip the cooked cod in the sauce a couple of times. Fearing the fish would fall apart as it was flipped, we spooned the sauce over each fillet instead. To keep it pescatarian, we swapped out the chicken broth for homemade shrimp stock. Serve with steamed rice.
Sichuan Braised Cod
- 1⁄2 cup, plus 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar, more to taste
- 3/4 Shrimp broth
- 1 1⁄2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. ketchup
- 1 1⁄2 lbs. cod fillets, cut into 4 uniform pieces
- Kosher salt and frhly ground black pepper
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3 Tvbsp. canola oil
- 10 dried Thai chiles or other small whole chiles
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
- 1 1⁄2 Tbsp. minced ginger
- in a small bowl, mix the 2 teaspoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons vinegar. Add the broth, soy sauce and ketchup.
- Season the fish with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
- Spread the remaining 1/2 cup cornstarch on a plate, and put the eggs in a wide bowl. Dredge the fish in the cornstarch.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch non-stick pan over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Soak the fish in the egg for a couple of seconds, then add to the pan.
- Cook, flipping every three minutes, until the cod is browned and a little firm to the touch, about 5 minutes total (it should not be cooked all the way through). Transfer the fish to a large plate.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan, then add the chiles, white parts of the scallions, and ginger. Cook, stirring until the scallions become translucent and browned in a few places, about 2 minutes.
- Give the cornstarch mixture a quick stir and then pour it into the pan. It should come to a boil and thicken quickly. Reduce the heat to medium-low, return the fish to the pan, and spoon the sauce over the fillets a couple of times to coat them in the sauce.
- Cover the pan, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and cook until the fish is just cooked through and starting to flake, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Taste the sauce for salt and vinegar, adding more to taste if needed. Serve immediately with the sauce spooned over the cod and sprinkled with scallion greens.
Adapted from a recipe from Fine Cooking