3⁄4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1⁄4 cup plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch, divided
21⁄2 teaspoons sugar
11⁄2 teaspoons soy sauce, plus additional for serving
11⁄2 pounds sole fillets (may substitute flounder)
Pinch coarse salt
Pinch ground white pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided, plus additional oil for frying
1⁄4 cup diced red bell pepper
1⁄4 cup diced green bell pepper
1⁄4 cup diced onion
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1⁄2 teaspoon finely grated mandarin or orange zest
1 tablespoon black bean paste
- Combine chicken broth, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, sugar, and soy sauce in a small bowl, stirring. Set aside.
- Cut sole into thin strips, approximately 21⁄2 inches long by 3⁄4 inch wide.
- Season lightly with salt and white pepper; drizzle with sesame oil and toss to coat well.
- Place remaining 1⁄4 cup cornstarch in a zip-top plastic bag; add fish and gently shake to coat completely.
- Remove fish from bag, shaking off excess cornstarch.
- Pour vegetable oil into a deep-sided sauté pan to a depth of 1⁄4 inch. Heat oil over medium-high heat until simmering.
- Working in 2 batches, cook fish in hot oil, tossing frequently, about 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp and firm. (Note: fish will not turn golden or brown when cooked.)
- Transfer cooked fish to a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.
- Pour oil out of sauté pan; discard oil.
- Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to the pan; return to stove over medium-high heat.
- Add peppers and onion.
- Cook, stirring frequently, until softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Transfer cooked vegetables to plate with fish.
- Lower heat to low; add 2 teaspoons oil, ginger, garlic, mandarin zest, and black bean paste to the sauté pan.
- Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is combined and fragrant.
- Add reserved broth-cornstarch mixture.
- Increase heat to high; bring to a simmer, and cook until thickened.
- Add vegetables and fish; toss gently to combine.
- Taste, and add additional soy sauce, if desired.
- Serve immediately over your favorite noodles and with vegetables (shown with asparagus). Serves 4.
Black bean paste is a salty sauce made from mashed fermented beans, garlic, and other spices. It’s available in Asian markets and specialty stores.