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One of my favorite Shanghainese dishes =)
Yes I know it sounds quite nasty, fried fish tails, but trust me, it tastes amazing!
What we do is, we take large anchovies (I know a lot of people here don`t like them) and we split them into halves vertically before letting them sit in a bamboo case with some salt and other seasonings. Usually they sit for a good few days to let the salt and seasonings soak in.
Once the seasonings get soaked up by the fish, it gets deep fried in canola oil after being rubbed with a mixture of egg and flour. The fish tails then turn into a golden crispy brown color.
The trick of the dish is to not cover the fish in batter. The fish tails should show through the crisp as the main important part is the fish tails, and not the fried batter itself.
The most delicious part of the fish is actually the belly of a female fish since the roe is inside and you get a really rich flavor from the roe, plus there`s a very unique texture. Roe is the eggs that remain unfertilized.
The taste is comparative to the Western fish and chips but the fish is much more crisp as the anchovies are a lot smaller than the ones used for fish and chips. Plus, there`s more flavor within the fish rather than using dipping sauces. We don`t use any sauces for this dish. We eat the fish as is.
Hope you guys enjoyed it.
*photo is mine, please don`t use*