Chinese Cooking - Cantonese Style

You can't beat Hong Kong for hustle, bustle and some of the world's finest Cantonese Chinese food. Cantonese Chinese cooking originated in southern China's Guangdong province, which Hong Kong is now part of. Cantonese cooking features an amazing variety of foods including fresh citrus. Spicy hot dishes are rare. Ginger, spring onion, soy, sugar, rice wine, corn starch and oil are the preferred flavorings. Some famous Cantonese creations include dim sum, shark fin soup, lo mein noodles and braised crispy chicken. Since Hong Kong is a seaport, seafood is often featured on Cantonese menus.

Sweet and Sour Fish Rolls

Mild, firm white fish fillets are rolled around crunchy juliennes of carrot, celery and green onion then lightly steamed and served with a citrus-ginger-chili sauce.

Makes 4 servings


4 dried black mushrooms
1 pound firm white fish fillets, such as sea bass or red snapper, each about 1/2 inch thick
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 small carrot, julienned
1 rib celery, julienned
2 green onions, julienned


1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon chili sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 orange, segmented and cut into 1/2-inch pieces


  1. Soak mushrooms in warm water to cover until softened, about 15 minutes; drain. Trim and discard stems. Thinly slice caps.
  2. Cut fish crosswise to make 2-inch by 3-inch pieces. Parallel cut each piece so each piece is about 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle salt and pepper over fish. To make each roll, place 1 or 2 pieces of mushroom, carrot, celery, and green onion on short side of fish then roll fish into a cylinder.
  3. Place fish rolls, seam side down, without crowding, in a heat-proof glass pie dish. Prepare a wok for steaming. Cover and steam fish rolls over high heat until fish turns opaque, 5 to 6 minutes.
  4. Combine sauce ingredients and 3 tablespoons steaming juices in a saucepan. Heat sauce over medium heat and cook, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens. Add orange segments and stir.
  5. Arrange fish rolls on a serving plate and pour sauce over the top.

Adapted from Martin Yan's Culinary Journey Through China (KQED Books) Copyright Yan Can Cook Inc. 1995