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Red Envelope Fish

1 1/2 pounds mild-flavored firm white fish fillets -- 3/4" thick (such as red snapper, halibut or sea bass)
Salt -- to taste
Freshly-ground white pepper -- to taste
1 egg -- lightly beaten
Flour -- for dry-coating
Vegetable oil -- for deep-frying
Slivered green onion -- for garnish


Sauce:
1/2 cup slivered Chinese sweet mixed pickles or sweet gherkins -- drained
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch -- mixed with
2 tablespoons water


Combine sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Place over medium-high heat and cook, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens slightly. Keep warm while preparing fish.


Cutting only 1/2-inch deep into fish, score fillets lengthwise at 1-inch intervals. Then score fish crosswise at 1-inch intervals. Lightly sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Place egg and flour in separate shallow bowls. Dip fish in egg, drain briefly, then dredge with flour, shaking off excess. Set aside.


Set wok in a ring stand and add oil to a depth of about 2 inches. Over high heat, bring oil to 375 degrees. Slowly dip fish fillets into hot oil and cook, turning occasionally, for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Lift out and drain on paper towels.


Transfer to a platter. Pour warm sauce over fish. Garnish with green onion.


This recipe yields 4 servings.


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