• Snakehead fish steamed in ginger shallot (Luke Nguyen's Railway Vietnam)Source: Luke Nguyen's Railway Vietnam

Luke cooks a healthy snakehead fish dish. Substitute with any firm white freshwater fish such as tilapia or perch.






Skill level

Average: 4.8 (4 votes)


  • 2 fillets snakehead fish, skin on (about 200 g each)
  • 40 cm piece banana leaf
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cm piece ginger, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 long red chilli, sliced
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced on diagonal
  • 1 litre water


  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp spring water
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 cm piece ginger, peeled and finely sliced

To serve

  • spring onion, thinly sliced
  • red chilli, thinly sliced
  • pennywort leaves
  • coriander sprigs
  • steamed 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.


1. Place the fish fillets on the banana leaf skin-side down. Season with salt and pepper, then top with sliced ginger, chilli and spring onion. Wrap the fish with the banana leaf by folding it over the fish fillets.

2. Place water in a medium saucepan and bring to a rapid boil over high heat. Put the wrapped fish parcel into a steamer basket, cover and steam for 8-10 minutes.

3. For the sauce, place all the sauce ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 4 minutes.

4. Remove the banana leaf fish from the steamer, place on a serving plate and open up. Drizzle the sauce over the fish and garnish with spring onions, chilli, pennywort leaves and coriander sprigs. Serve with steamed rice.


Catch Luke Nguyen on the tracks dishing up Vietnamese fare in the brand-new series, Luke Nguyen's Railway Vietnam.