Chinese Grilled Fish with Cumin and Jalapeños (Xīnjiāng Kăoyú)

grilled cumin fish
Grilled Fish with Cumin and Jalapeños (Xīnjiāng Kăoyú)Mathias Depardon

During Western China's desert summers, freshwater fish from the Tarim River are barbecued, butterflied, and splayed across long, thin salt-cedar branches. The skewers are then stuck, stake-like, into the ground around a burning fire, which roasts them slowly and evenly. In this version, a hot oven or a traditional western grill will work similarly, roasting the cumin-, garlic-, and pepper-rubbed fish to a fragrant burnish. While carp and perch are more common in western China, bass and branzino are fine substitutes.

Recipe adapted from All Under Heaven.