1 whole fish (size depends on how large your wok is)*
vegetable oil for deep frying
1 cup corn flour (cornstarch)
fine slices of spring onion (scallions)
Sweet & sour sauce:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
½ onion, diced
½ capsicum, diced
½ cup diced fresh pineapple
½ cup brown sugar
3 tbsp white vinegar
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/3 cup pineapple juice
¼ tsp Chinese five spice
2 tsp corn flour (cornstarch) mixed with 2 tbsp water
Soak the spring onion in cold water until it curls.
Score the sides of the fish at about 3 cm intervals. Season with salt. Lightly coat in flour.
Fill a saucepan or wok to about 1/3 capacity with the vegetable oil. Heat over high heat. The oil is hot enough at 165°C/325°F or when a wooden spoon dipped into the oil forms small little bubbles.
Cook the fish in the oil for 10-15 minutes, turning regularly, or until golden and crisp.
While the fish is cooking, make the sweet & sour sauce. Heat one tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok or large frying pan over high heat. Add the onion and capsicum and stir-fry for a minute. Then add the pineapple and stir-fry for half a minute. Turn the heat down to medium and add the brown sugar, vinegar, tomato ketchup, soy sauce, pineapple juice and Chinese five spice. Simmer for 2 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Add the corn flour mixture to the sauce and simmer for a further half a minute to thicken. Turn the heat off but keep the sauce warm in the pan.
When the fish is golden, carefully transfer it to a paper towel. Allow the oil to drain and then place the fish on a serving platter. Warm the sauce if it has cooled. Pour the warm sauce over the fish and top with spring onion curls.
– I have a regular-sized carbon-steel Asian wok and I used a 1kg fish.