Chinese pan-fried belt fish is a simple and delicious dish that is popular in southern China. This dish only needs a few ingredients. It's very easy to cook, especially if you have pre-cut belt fish. Belt fish can be served as a main dish or as an appetizer along with steamed white rice.
What is belt fish?
Belt fish（带鱼） is a medium size fish with white flesh, which is very nutritious and easy to cook. The belt fish is a marine fish in the family of Muraenidae. This type of catfish has a large head, a long body, large eyes, and a single dorsal fin. The belt fish has a silvery-gray body with dark spots on its back and sides. The belt fish grows up to about 30 inches long and it has a firm texture and a mild taste. It is best fried because it holds its shape well during cooking. It's usually available in Asian supermarkets and the fishmonger will clean it for you.
How to clean the belt fish
I bought pre-cut belt fish from my local Asian market. Rinse them under running water and trim off the hard pieces around the edge of the fish fins with scissors. Cut the belt fish open from the side, and make sure you take out the guts and unwanted parts. Next, cut up your fish into small pieces (skip this part if you bought pre-cut belt fish) and place them in a large bowl.
If you bought frozen belt fish like me, I strongly suggest you fully thaw it in the fridge before cooking.
How to make pan-fried belt fish
Fried belt fish is a delicious meal, but it can be very time-consuming to make. Thankfully, there are a couple of shortcuts to making this dish. You can thaw ahead of time and store the fish in the refrigerator. This will allow you to prepare the dish quickly when you're ready to eat. The key is to use the right ingredients and preparation methods when cooking fried belt fish.
When preparing your fried belt fish, start by soaking the fish with salt, black pepper, Shaoxing cooking wine, soy sauce, and fresh ginger slices first. Marinade and mix well until all pieces of fish are coated. Then leave it aside for 30 minutes before cooking.
Drain the liquid out and discard the ginger slices. Add flour and mix well until it turns into a thin paste. Make sure to coat every piece evenly. Coat well until everything is combined nicely. Leave it for another 5 minutes for the batter to set before frying them.
Lastly, fry the belt fish. Heat some oil in a deep-frying pan until hot enough for frying. Arrange the belt fish in the bottom of a large nonstick skillet. Fry it until both sides are golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from pan onto paper towels to drain excess oil before serving. Done!
Thanks for reading my post on pan-fried belt fish! I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe. Leave a comment below and tell me how you like it. 😊
Pan Fried Belt Fish
- Clean the thawed belt fish thoroughly with running water. Trim off the hard edge with scissors.
- Marinate belt fish with salt, black pepper, Shaoxing cooking wine, soy sauce, and fresh ginger slices. Let it set for 30 minutes at least.
- Drain the liquid out and discard the ginger slices.
- Add flour and mix well until it turns into a thin paste. Make sure to coat every piece evenly.
- Heat oil in a pan. Arrange the belt fish in the bottom of a large nonstick skillet. Fry it until both sides are golden brown, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Garnish with red/green chilis.
- Serve and enjoy!