Stir-Fried Eel (Xiang You Shan Hu) – A Symphony of Flavors from Jiangnan Cuisine

stir-fried eel

Stir-Fried Eel, known as 响油鳝糊 (Xiǎng Yóu Shàn Hú) in Chinese, stands as a distinctive and traditional delicacy originating from the Jiangnan region, particularly associated with Suzhou-style cuisine, also known as Su-Bang cuisine. The dish derives its intriguing name from the sizzling sound produced by the oil when the eel is served.

The key ingredient is fresh eel, which is meticulously prepared by cutting the eel into segments immediately after being harvested. These eel segments are then tossed into a medley of flavorful seasonings and explosively stir-fried to perfection. The dish boasts a rich and deep red color, with a glossy texture that is not overly greasy, creating an inviting appearance that hints at the culinary delights within. The hallmark of Stir-Fried Eel lies in its succulent eel meat, aromatic flavors, and its ability to stimulate the palate while providing a nourishing and appetizing experience.

Ingredients:

  • 300g of eel
  • 25g of winter bamboo shoots
  • 25g of ham
  • 2 stalks of scallions
  • 5 sprigs of cilantro
  • 1 small piece of ginger
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • Adequate amount of starch

Seasonings:

  • 30g of cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon of chicken stock
  • 1/2 tablespoon of cooking wine
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of MSG

Cooking Steps:

  1. Clean and cut scallions and cilantro into segments. Pat the ginger. Chop some garlic into minced pieces and the rest into small bits. Slice bamboo shoots and ham into thin strips. Blanch bamboo shoots and ham in hot water. Cut the remaining scallions and ginger into small pieces. Mix soy sauce, cooking wine, sugar, starch, chicken stock, and MSG to make a thick sauce.
  2. Boil water in a pot and add vinegar, salt, cooking wine, scallions, and ginger. Once boiling, add live eel to the pot and immediately cover it.
  3. When the water boils again, simmer the eel until the meat is tender. Transfer the eel into cold water. Cut the eel into segments, remove the old meat from the abdomen, and debone it. Wash and blanch the remaining eel segments in hot water, then drain excess water.
  4. Heat oil in a wok, add scallions, ginger, and garlic. Stir-fry until fragrant, then add eel segments and stir-fry until cooked. Pour in the thick sauce and mix well. Drizzle with vinegar and transfer the eel onto a plate. Sprinkle minced garlic, bamboo shoot strips, ham strips, cilantro segments, and black pepper. Finish by pouring hot sesame oil over the dish.

Stir-Fried Eel exemplifies the artistry of Jiangnan cuisine, offering a delightful medley of textures and flavors that please both the eyes and the palate. This symphony of ingredients creates a harmonious dish that captures the essence of Suzhou’s culinary heritage.

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