600g/1.3lb Chinese yellow eel (or1 slice about 13cm/5in long)
1 Tbsp preserved soybean paste (fine type)
1 red chili or 5 small green chilies
1 stalk green onion (scallion) – optional
½ Tbsp shredded ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp sugar
soy sauce to taste
1½ cups water
Sauce thickening/smoothening ingredients (mix together)
1 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp of water
1. Cut the piece of eel lengthwise into 2 pieces; one of the pieces with the central bone also sliced lengthwise but still attached on one side and to be spread out when cooking. Rub with a half a teaspoon of salt.
2. If the preserved soybean paste is the whole bean type, mince it before using.
3. Fry ginger and garlic in wok or pan.
4. Add the soybean paste and fry for a minute.
5. Put in the sugar and mix and stir till dissolved.
6. Add the water and when boiling, put in the fish pieces. Simmer till cooked.
7. Thicken sauce a little with the cornstarch slurry. Bring back to the boil and the dish is ready.
8. Add chilies for a spicy taste. If a non-spicy dish is preferred, garnish with spring onion (scallion) instead.
Note on preserved soybean paste: It is very salty just like all preserved salty Chinese vegetables and other foodstuff. It tastes good only when sugar is added to it, so check the taste if it is just right as when sufficient amount of sugar is added.