My husband came home from the grocery store the other day with red snapper and a selection of vegetables. “I thought we would have stir-fry,” he said.
What I should have said was, “Thank you, honey, for planning dinner and going to the store. That was so awesome!”
What I actually said was, “Fish stir-fry? Gross. Have you ever actually heard of fish stir-fry?”
Not my finest moment as a wife. Did I mention that I was napping when he went to the store? With the kids? Yep. Not my finest wife moment at all.
To recover from my diarrhea of the mouth (or to prove my point, which, of course, needed no actual proof other than “oooh, gross”), I searched online for fish stir-fry recipes. Nothing. Ok, well not exactly nothing, but nothing that made any sense at all. I may have found two recipes that had both fish and some element of stir-fry involved. I could just picture the snapper disintegrating into the skillet. Ugh. Even my favorite resource for all things ingredient, The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook, was silent on fish stir-fries. Lots of shrimp, yes. No fish.
Then I discovered that The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook recipes for kung pao shrimp and kung pao chicken were exactly the same. I went back to one of the two fish stir-fry recipes that I had found on Pinterest and guessed that I could probably substitute the snapper for shrimp in a pinch. The pinch being supporting my husband’s effort to help with dinner so that he will do it again.
Surprisingly, you can make kung pao fish. And it is pretty good. Gus said that he loved his “chicken” and it was fun to watch him try to eat peanuts with chopsticks. Little Miss was not as convinced, but then, she’s not a big fish kid.
We followed the recipe for kung pao shrimp in The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook, substituting sherry vinegar for Shaoxing wine and dried chile pepper flakes for fresh pepper. Remember, central Idaho is not exactly an Asian food market mecca. This recipe is similar to the one we used, and is definitely worth a try. I threw together a quick veggie stir-fry to go with the kung pao, using the veggies that my husband had bought for our fish stir-fry. This worked well.
The next time you find yourself with fish and a few peppers on hand, give this a try. Let me know what you think.