Whole snapper steamed with black beans, lemon and chilli recipe
- Cuisine: Chinese
- Prep Time: 30 min(s)
- Cook Time: 25 min(s)
- Serves 2
This is always on the menu at Frank Shek’s restaurant China Doll, yet it is easy enough to make at home – and it’s incredibly healthy! The recipe includes making a simple black-bean paste (briefly frying preserved black beans with garlic), although you may wish to use ready-made black-bean paste instead. Both preserved black beans and black-bean paste can be bought at Asian grocery stores or large supermarkets. Mushroom soy sauce is a type of dark soy flavoured with straw mushrooms.
Ingredients2 ½ tbsp - vegetable oil
50 g - garlic cloves, finely chopped
100 g - Chinese preserved black beans, rinsed and drained (see note)
700 g - whole snapper, cleaned and scaled
1 - lemon, sliced, plus extra lemon to squeeze
1 - long red chilli, sliced into strips
3 - spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
small handful of coriander leaves
1 tbsp - mushroom soy sauce
1 tbsp - peanut oil
PreparationHeat the oil in a wok or frying pan and fry the garlic for 2–3 minutes until it just begins to brown. Add the black beans and stir-fry for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Reserve 1 heaped tablespoon of this black-bean paste for the fish, and store the rest in a sterilised jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. (You can also use the paste in stir-fries, marinades and braises.)
Rinse the fish and pat dry with paper towel. Lay on a chopping board and use a sharp knife to cut slashes in the flesh where it is thickest – cut them about 3 cm apart crossways as well as lengthways. Turn the fish and do the same on the other side. Season inside and out with sea salt.
Place onto a large plate. Spread with the black-bean paste and arrange the lemon slices over the top. Place the plate into a large bamboo steamer over a wok of simmering water. Cover with a lid and steam for about 12 minutes.
Remove from the steamer and top with the chilli, spring onion and coriander. Drizzle with the mushroom soy sauce and a squeeze of lemon. Heat the peanut oil in a small frying pan until smoking and pour over the fish. This will sizzle the herbs, releasing their aroma. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.
Note: Preserved black beans or black bean paste can be bought at Asian grocery stores or large supermarkets.
If you make your own black bean paste then make extra. It will keep in the fridge in a sterilized jar for 2-3 months. You can also use it for stir-fries, marinades and braises.
SBS cook’s notes
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55–60 g, unless specified.
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