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Recipe: Fried Pacific saury in marinade
Serves 4 to 8
250 ml dashi stock (or 250 ml of water with 1 teaspoon of dashi powder)
50 ml mirin
50 ml light colored (usukuchi) soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon sugar
80 ml rice vinegar
4 large, 8 medium or 16 small very fresh Pacific saury (aji)
1 teaspoon salt
potato starch (katakuriko) or cornstarch
vegetable oil for frying
1 large onion, sliced thinly
1 large sweet bell pepper, sliced thinly
4 red chili peppers, de-seeded and chopped
Make the nanban marinade: Combine the dashi stock, mirin, soy sauce, sugar and vinegar in a small pan and bring to a boil. Transfer to a shallow nonreactive container and add the vegetables. Leave to cool.
Remove the scales from the fish, especially the hard ridge that runs down the middle. Open from the belly side and clean out the guts. If using large fish, filet them and cut into three or four pieces each. Smaller ones can be left whole or cut in half. Remove the heads if preferred. Pat the fish dry and sprinkle with salt. Leave for 10 minutes, pat dry again and dust with potato or cornstarch.
Heat up the frying oil to 150°C. Put the fish in the oil a few at a time, and fry until bubbles stop coming out of them. Drain well. Place the fish in the marinade, and refrigerate for at least an hour, turning occasionally. Serve cold with some of the marinade vegetables. The fish can be refrigerated in marinade for up to three days.