from Jude’s Kitchen: Chinese Seafood

With the approach of the start to Chinese new year celebrations, take the opportunity to enjoy the special flavours of sustainable seafood.

Jude's Kitchen: Stir-fried prawns

Jude's Kitchen: Stir-fried prawns

January 23 signals the beginning of the Chinese New Year celebration, which lasts until the new moon rises on February 7, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to enjoy some of the fresh and unusual flavours of Chinese cooking.

As in every culture, food plays an important role in these celebrations, with much entertaining and visiting—all involving food.

This is the year of the dragon, a particularly auspicious symbol in the 12-animal Chinese zodiac. It’s predicted that those born this year will be ambitious and dominant characters; driven risk-takers and leaders.

This dragon year features the element water, so seafood seems an appropriate way to celebrate its beginning.

A new campaign encouraging the purchase of sustainable fish was launched January 16, with local fishmonger, Jon Crofts of Codfathers putting his support behind the initiative—by putting a pic of Anne-Marie’s especially silly fish face up on Facebook!

They’re both big supporters of Ocean Wise, a program of the Vancouver Aquarium that now includes 3,000 partner restaurants, markets and food suppliers such as Codfathers Seafood Market at Guisachan.

By supporting shops displaying the Ocean Wise logo, you can be sure you’re choosing seafood that has been sustainably harvested rather than that which may have resulted in the unnecessary death of bycatch or other sea creatures, or that which targeted seafood unsustainably.

Called the Be Happy campaign, it features a facebook page ( where you can take a pledge to try more sustainable seafood options and upload a pic of yourself making a silly fish face like Anne-Marie’s.

Incidentally, enjoy the local Salmon candy bits prepared by the Okanagan Nation Alliance and now available at Codfathers.

For more Chinese-style recipes and recipes using local seafood, pick up a copy of my new book, Jude’s Kitchen at Codfathers, or wherever books are sold. 

Fish in Eggs with Ginger

This Peking-style dish has a very delicate flavour, and it cooks up very quickly. It’s excellent served with a dish of stir-fried vegetables on the side. I like to use a non-stick frypan to cook it in. Generally I would buy snapper or cod for this, but striped bass is the OceanWise choice and any white-fleshed fish would suit just as well.

1 lb. (454 g) red snapper fillets

1 tsp. (5 ml) salt

1 tsp. (5 ml) sesame oil

sprinkling of flour

2 eggs

drizzle of oil

1 tbsp. (15 ml) fresh ginger

1 large garlic clove

4 green onions

1 tbsp. (15 ml) chicken stock

1 tbsp. (15 ml) dry sherry

Slice fish fillets into two-inch strips, across the fillet. Sprinkle each with salt, sesame oil and flour, then dip each in beaten egg.

Heat a drizzle of oil in a large non-stick frypan over medium-high heat.

Finely chop the ginger and garlic and slice up the green onions, keeping the white and green parts separate.

Add the minced ginger and the pieces of fish to the pre-heated frypan and brown the fish on both sides, then turn down the heat.

Add the garlic and the light parts of the green onion, reserving the green tops as a garnish.

Add the chicken stock and sherry and cover the pan, simmering for just a few minutes.

Serves four with a vegetable dish on the side.

Peppering Prawns

Lots of crunchy veggies in this dish, which could also be made with chopped chicken instead of the prawns. You may garnish it with a handful of toasted cashew nuts tossed in at the last minute.

1 onion

6 baby bok choy

2 celery stalks

1/2 red pepper

6 small mushrooms

1/2 lb. (227 g) prawns

2 tbsp. (30 ml) ginger root

1 large clove garlic

1 tbsp. (15 ml) dry sherry

1 tbsp. (15 ml) soy sauce

1 tbsp. (15 ml) light soy sauce

1/2 tsp. (2 ml) sugar

1/2 tsp. (2 ml) chilli flakes

2 tbsp. (30 ml) ketchup

drizzle of oil

3/4 c. (175 ml) water

1 tbsp. (15 ml) cornstarch

2 tbsp. (30 ml) cold water

Dice onion and slice bok choy into chunks, cutting the green tops into ribbons and keeping them separate. Slice celery and cut the pepper into small dice. Quarter the mushrooms.

Shell the prawns and mince the ginger and garlic. Combine the sherry or rice wine, soy sauce, sugar, chilli flakes and ketchup in a small bowl.

Heat a drizzle of oil in a wok or large frypan over medium-high heat and add half the ginger, then the onion. Stir fry for a few minutes, then add the bok choy stems and celery. Stir fry for a minute or two before adding the mushrooms; then stir fry and top with the bok choy greens and red pepper. Let cook for a minute, then stir and turn out onto the serving dish.

Heat another drizzle of oil and add the remaining ginger and the prawns. Cook for a minute, then turn over and leave for another minute. Add the sauce ingredients and stir fry for a minute or two.

Add the water and stir, then combine the cornstarch and cold water in a tiny bowl, push the prawns to the sides and add to the liquid in the middle of the wok, stirring until it thickens to a nice sauce.

Add the vegetables back and combine with the sauce.

Serves 3-4.


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