Lou was supposed to be out and I was Baby Sitting! Great - time for Sichuan! Unfortunately Lou's night was cancelled. Not mine though :o)
From the awesome Sichuan Cooking by Fuscia Dunlop you get the history of the strangely named dish....
“The so-called ‘fish-fragrant’ flavour…is salty, sweet, sour and spicy, and infused with the heady tastes of garlic, ginger and spring onions. The hot taste comes from pickled chillies, which also stain the cooking oil a brilliant orange-red. The most classic fish-fragrant dishes are based on pickled chillies chopped to a puree with a cleaver blade, although some versions use Sichuan chilli bean paste instead… This delicious combination of flavours is thought ot have originated in traditional Sichuanese fish cookery, which would explain why other ingredients prepared in the same fashion whould have instantly recalled the taste of fish to those who are them, hence the name. Some food experts, like the famous chef Xiao Jianming of the Piaoxiang Restaurant in Chengdu, say the flavours conjure up the actual taste of little crucian carp (ji yu), which are widely eaten in Sichuan – another explanation for the title. The term may also be connected with the fact that whole crucian carp, which may also be connected with the fact that whole crucian carp…are sometimes actually added to vats of pickling chillies to improve their taste.”
Always good to have in the store cupboard - dried cloud ear fungus
I cannot resist - every time I cook Chinese it has to have a Bok Choi in Oyster sauce. kick it up a notch!
Before the chilli oil does it work in terms of infusing....
And after - fantastic
Sorry Lou - it had to be cooked!