This is an adaptation of a delicious late-night snack from a barbecue stall in Yueyang. They cooked little crucian carp, several of them split open and sandwiched in a grill wire, over a charcoal barbecue, and then served them in a metal pan on a tabletop burner, with a generous scattering of scallion and coriander (cilantro).
- 1 sea bass (about 1 lb.), dressed, but with head and tail left intact
- 1 tbsp. shaoxing wine
- A small piece fresh ginger
- 1 scallion, white part only
- 3 scallions, green parts only
- A handful coriander (cilantro) leaves
- 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
- ½ tsp. sweet bean sauce
- 1 tsp. chinkiang vinegar
- 1 tsp. sugar
- Peanut oil for brushing
- Ground cumin
- Dried chili flakes
1. Make a few deep, diagonal slashes at even intervals into the thickest part of the fish. Rub with the Shaoxing wine and a little salt. Crush the ginger and scallion white with the flat side of your cleaver or a heavy object, and place them in the cavity of the fish; set aside while you preheat the barbecue.
2. Meanwhile, finely slice the scallion greens, and chop or tear the coriander leaves; set both aside.
3. When you are ready to cook the fish, discard the ginger and scallion from the cavity, and pat the fish dry with paper towels. Combine the soy sauce, sweet bean sauce, vinegar, and sugar in a bowl, then brush the mixture over the fish. Finally, brush the fish with peanut oil and sprinkle with a little salt to taste.
4. Brush the hot barbecue grill with a little oil. Place the fish on the barbecue, and grill on both sides until cooked through and a chopstick slides easily into the thickest part of the back. When it is approaching the end of the cooking time, brush the fish with more peanut oil, and scatter it generously with cumin and chili flakes on both sides. Finally, sprinkle the fish with scallion greens, let them feel the lick of the heat, and then transfer to a serving dish, and scatter with coriander.
Nutritional information is based on using 2 tablespoons of peanut oil to be used for brushing the grill and the fish. Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon of added salt per serving.