1 freshwater fish (preferably mandarin fish) of about 750 grams (1.65 lb)
30 grams (1 1/15 oz) shrimps
20 grams (2/3 oz) diced bamboo shoots
20 grams (2/3 oz) diced mushrooms (originally dried mushrooms that have been soaked in water)
15 grams(1/2 oz) green peas
20 grams (4 tsp)cooking wine
7 grams (1 1/6 tsp) salt
150 grams (11 tbsp) sugar
100 grams (6 tbsp) vinegar
100 grams (5 1/2 tbsp) tomato sauce
500 grams (1.1 lb) dry cornstarch (only about 100 g or 0.22 lb to be used)
100 grams (6 tbsp) water
35 grams (2 tbsp) mixture of cornstarch and water
10 grams (2 tsp) sesame oil
1,000 grams (4 cups) oil (200 g or 4/5 cup to be consumed)
1. Clean the fish, cut off the head near the belly fin, but do not throw it away. Cut open the fish along its back until the cut reaches its tail. (Do not cut off the tail.) Cut out the back bone and remove the side bones (ribs). Make several cuts with 1 cm spaces in between, first vertically and then horizontally on the inner side of the fish to create a diamond-shaped pattern. (Do not cut open the skin.) Marinate the fish with 10 g (2 tsp) of cooking wine and 5 g (5/6 tsp) of salt for 5 minutes. Dust the dry cornstarch on the fish body and head. Hold the fish tail to shake off unnecessary cornstarch.
2. Heat the oil until it is about 200-220ºC (390-430ºF). Roll the fish to keep the skin inside. Hold the fish tail with one hand and the top end of the fish body with chopsticks and gradually release it into the oil. Now place the head into the oil also. When both are done, take them out and place them on a plate, putting the head and the body together to create the concept of a whole fish.
3. Mix the tomato sauce, water, sugar, 10 g (2 tsp) of cooking wine and 2 g (1/3 tsp)of salt into a sauce.
4. Keep 20 g (1 1/2 tbsp) of oil in the wok. Put in the shrimps, diced bamboo shoots, mushrooms and green peas and stir-fry. Add in the mixed sauce. When the sauce is boiling, put in the cornstarch-water mixture to thicken it. Sprinkle some sesame oil and pour the sauce right onto the fish.
Features: It beautifully resembles the shape of a squirrel.
Taste: Both sweet and sour, crispy outside and tender inside.