You’ll flip for this fried fish dish with seaweed
Grab your handy fish spatula for a taste of Shanghai.
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Jenny Dorsey is a professional chef, author and speaker specializing in interdisciplinary storytelling fusing food with social good. She leads a nonprofit named Studio ATAO and runs her own culinary consulting business. Her food and work has been featured in outlets such as Food Network, Oxygen TV, Eater, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, among others.
This recipe is loosely inspired by Shanghai-style seaweed fried fish (苔条鱼片), which I only ever tried recently despite being born in Shanghai. (It’s a favorite of my mother’s from home, but not as common to find stateside.) I like to use a mild white fish for this preparation, like sole or rockfish, since it complements the nice tempura-like batter well. The seaweed is easily available online at vendors like Amazon, and if you don’t want to deep-fry the fish you’re welcome to also pan-fry with a smaller amount of oil for similarly delicious results. Either way, a fish spatula comes in handy to carefully maneuver the delicate skin and flesh of your fillet, without tearing or bruising it.
A major plus: I use my fish spatula for a lot more than fish. It’s an excellent tool to flip any protein, really—steaks, shortribs, chicken breast, tofu blocks, you name it! It can even sub in for a spider when deep frying.
What you need
1 pound mild white fish fillets, cut into approx. 1-by-2-inch strips (I use sole)
1½ teaspoons kosher salt (I use Morton’s Coarse)
1½ teaspoons aonori flakes
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
½ teaspoon white sugar
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup sparkling water
Neutral oil, as needed to fill your frying vessel halfway
45 minutes to 2 hours, 15 minutes, depending on marinade
1 pound fried fish
How to make Seaweed-Marinated Fried Fish
Step 1: Make marinade
Combine the fish, salt, aonori flakes, Shaoxing wine, white pepper, and sugar in a bowl. Marinate fish for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours, in the refrigerator. Let the fish come to room temperature approximately 10 minutes before frying.
Step 2: Make tempura batter
Whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Add egg and sparkling water, then whisk to combine. Do not overmix—a few lumps are fine.
Step 3: Fry fish
Heat oil to approximately 360°F. Carefully dip a piece of fish into tempura batter, letting excess drain off, before adding to frying oil. Make sure to not overcrowd the pot with too much fish! Fry 2-3 minutes until fish pieces are golden brown, then drain on paper towels.
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