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Sunday, 24 April 2016

Homemade Salted Black Bean Fish (copycat canned fried dace with salted black beans) 自制豆豉鲮鱼

This is the copycat version of the canned fried dace with salted black beans. This is a classic canned food that I used to eat when I was a kid. It is best to serve with a bowl of warm steamed rice.

Fried dace with salted black beans is originated from GuangZhou in China. In the past, many Chinese from the Pearl River Delta region needed to go to Southeast Asia to work. They would fry the dace, preserve it with salted black beans and bring it with them because they were not used to eating foreign food.The tradition gradually transformed into a canned food business. 

The essential ingredients in the canned product namely fresh dace, salted black beans, vegetable oil, sugar, soybean sauce, salt and spices. The dace preserved in vegetable oil, it tasted well seasoned with black beans and flavoured with savoury spices. Well, these are the one 'listed' on the label, but there are some hidden ingredients that you and me wouldn't know........ In 2005, the Hong Kong Food and Environmental Hygiene Department tested 26 samples of food, in which some of the samples of the canned fried dace with salted black beans were tested positive for malachite green, a carcinogenic chemical. (source: from wikipedia)

This is what we all should be aware of! I never eat this for more than 20 years as I never cook when I started to work and I never cook canned food when I started to cook for my little one. Until I found this recipe from the China site a year ago, I was so eager to try out the recipe. However, it required 8 hours of continuous simmering. Therefore, it has been sitting in my 'to-do-list' until I got my pressure cooker. Pressure cooker shorten cooking time by 70%, so I decided to give it a try and I'm glad that the outcome was good! 


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6 Dace 
(I can't get dace here in the nearby neighbourhood market, so I used red snapper/hong ge li)


4 slices Ginger

100g Salted Black Beans (washed, soaked and drain)

4 tbsp Rice Wine

1 tbsp Soy Sauce

1 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce

3 tbsp Rock Sugar or add to taste

12 tbsp Water or more


1. Wash the fish, rub the fish with some salt. Pat dry and let it marinate for 30 minutes. 

2. Deep fry the fish until crispy. This step is essential! Make sure to deep fry until the bones are crispy. 

3. Heat some oil in a skillet, fry the ginger until fragrant. Stir in black beans, cook until fragrant. Add in rice wine, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, rock sugar and 6 tbsp water. Bring to boil and simmer until the sugar dissolve.

4. Add in the fried fish, stir to coat. Turn off heat.

~ If using conventional pot, add water to cover the fish, simmer with med-high heat for 2 hours, turn to low heat, simmer for 6 hours. This is what indicated in the original recipe~

 5. Fill up 1/3 water in a WMF Perfect Pro 4.5L pressure cooker. Place the steam rack in the pot. Line the steaming tray with 3 layers of aluminium foil. Transfer the fish and sauce onto the foil, as shown in the picture. 

6. Add 2 tbsp water, close with the cover and set the knob to 1. Use medium heat until the cooking indicator rises to the 1st orange ring. Reduce heat to low and let it cook for 15 minutes. 

7. Set the knob to lock/unlock to release pressure or wait until the orange ring to go back down. When there's no more pressure, open the cover and flip the fish. 

8. Repeat step 6 and 7 until the fish is soft. My total cooking time is 45 minutes to soften the fish, until the bones are soft and edible, just like the canned one!

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