• Ginger and shallot steamed barramundi with fried shallots (China Squirrel)Source: China Squirrel

Sizzling hot oil infused with ginger and garlic is poured over the fish at the end, plus the fins and tails are snipped off and deep-fried, then scattered over the top like crunchy croutons.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (30 votes)


Steamed barramundi

  • 1 x 750 g whole barramundi, gutted and scaled, tail and fins cut off and reserved
  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 3 stalks spring onion (2 stalks left whole and 1 stalk julienned)
  • 3 cm piece ginger (2 cm crushed and 1 cm julienned)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce 


Fried shallots and fish tail/fin

  • 2 red Asian shallots, thinly sliced
  • fish tail/fins (reserved from above)
  • 2 tsp plain flour
  • 100 ml vegetable oil 


Bok choy

  • 1 bunch bok choy, halved lengthways
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp ginger and garlic oil (reserved from the barramundi) 


To serve

  • steamed jasmine rice

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.


Marinating time: 15 minutes

Using a sharp knife, score the flesh of the barramundi three times on each side. Place in a large, shallow heatproof dish, pour over the Shaoxing and scatter over the salt. Leave to marinate for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Drain the marinade from the fish. Place the crushed ginger and whole stalks of spring onion inside the fish cavity.

Steam the fish in a bamboo basket or large double steamer over a medium heat for 10–12 minutes or until the fish is just cooked through – check the flesh with a fork, it should be flaky.

When the fish is nearly read, heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until hot, add the garlic and julienned ginger and cook for 3- 4 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from the heat (the ginger and garlic will continue to brown once off the heat) but keep warm.

Remove the fish from the steamer and discard the liquid, ginger and spring onions.

Pour the soy sauce over the fish and scatter over the julienned spring onion. Pour over the hot ginger and garlic oil (reserving 2 teaspoons for the bok choy).

Fried shallots, in separate bowls, coat the shallot in 1 teaspoon of flour, and the fish tails and fins in 1 teaspoon of flour.

Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat, add the shallot and fry for about 8 minutes or until golden. Remove and drain on paper towel. Season with a pinch of salt to taste.

Repeat with the fish tail and fins.

Transfer to a serving dish.

For the bok choy, blanch the bok choy in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then drain well.

Mix the oyster sauce, soy sauce and ginger and garlic oil together, pour over the bok choy and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving platter.

Serve the fish with the bok choy, fried shallots and fish fins and tails, and steamed rice on the side, banquet style. 


Photography, styling and food preparation by China Squirrel


This recipe is from The Chefs' Line - a brand new series airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Can the passion of a home cook beat the skills of a professional chef? Missed all the action? Catch-up online and get all the recipes #TheChefsLine.

This recipe has been edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the series.