May 22, 2011

Popular Taiwanese Ingredients: Semi Stir-Fry Amaranth with Tiny White Fish

What a tongue twisted name for a vegetable,
This leafy green is similar to spinach, however, with lighter color and a wee bit softer texture in my opinion.
Amaranth can be found in almost every grocery store and outdoor markets here in Taiwan.

Another popular Taiwanese ingredient is tiny white fish (吻仔魚), also known as shirasu in Japanese.
I'm deeply in love with this ingredient,
Years ago, there're quite a few controversies regarding the over consumption of tiny white fish, especially those are basically baby fish in the ocean.
Luckily, more and more regulated fish farms have been established over the years so now we can enjoy this nutritious ingredient without harming the balance of the nature.

Tiny white fish can be found in major Asian grocery stores such as Ranch 99 and Mitsuwa,
Personally, I prefer the ones from Mitsuwa,
The quality is more stable and the fish are definitely fresher and cleaner.
As for the amaranth, if you can't find any around the neighborhood, just substitute it with spinach.

Semi stir-fry amaranth with tiny white fish -


1 1/4 cup of tiny white fish (that's a lot, you can definitely tone down the amount a bit)
1/2 cup of hot water
2 bundles of amaranth
2 garlic cloves
2 Thai chili peppers
1 teaspoon of black bean soy sauce
Some olive oil
Some sea salt


Chop 2 peeled garlic cloves and 2 chili peppers into small pieces,
Thoroughly rinse the vegetable, pick out tough stems, drain well and set aside for later use.

Drizzle some olive oil to the pan, turn to high heat,
Toss in chopped garlic and chili peppers, sprinkle some salt,
Give it a quick stir, cook till the garlic aroma comes out, but don't wait for too long that you'll burn the garlic.

Transfer the fish into the pan, cook for about 30 seconds, add in the amaranth,
Here's why I call it a semi stir-fry dish,
I'm not gonna "stir-fry" the vegetable, instead, let's add in the hot water and wait till the amaranth starts to wilt.

Bring to a boil and turn to medium heat,
Add in the black bean soy sauce and cook for a wee bit longer,
You might find it hard to "maneuver" the amaranth because it tends to stick together when cooked this way,
That's why traditionally Taiwanese will add some corn starch and make it a gooey, soup-like dish,
Not for me this time, the gooey style is only good if you gonna finish the dish immediately,
If you want to eat it the next day or use as lunch box dish, just omit the corn starch and do it my way.

Taste it before serving,
You might need a bit more salt or hot water depending on personal preferences.

Now that my semi stir-fry style amaranth is done, time to pack this dish into 3 lunch boxes,
Can't wait to eat this tomorrow!

Cindy's Rating: 7


  1. Interesting dish!

  2. Lovely! I've never tried those tiny white fish but my husband is Taiwanese so I better get on it!

  3. To Sarah~
    I hope you'll like it!! It's one of my favorite fish!

  4. I like amaranth. But I wonder what is the relation between amaranth and the amaranth seeds ?

  5. To Tigerfish~
    Relation as??? Maybe amaranth seeds are just the seeds from amaranth?? Huh??