Day 16 – Steamed baby snapper with Asian flavours

I love cooking snapper whole – there’s something about putting a whole fish in the middle of the table that makes you feel like you are about to embark on a feast.

I use baby snapper because I love the pink skin and its size means it’s not too hard to fit it in the steamer. It cooks quickly and the flesh tastes sweet and is really good at taking on other flavours.

This recipe is from Aussie chef Neil Perry. I have eaten at his restaurant, Rockpool Bar and Grill twice now – and we’re about to go back a third time in December for mine and Matt’s anniversary. We made the booking about two months ago and both cannot wait!! At Rockpool the menu is all about the best beef you’ll ever eat. However, I have watched many of Neil’s shows and he certainly has a way with fish and seafood.

So I really hope you give this recipe a go. It’s been a while since I last made it, but as summer draws nearer – this will certainly be on my menu more regularly.

Whole baby snapper with Asian flavours

  • 1 kg snapper scaled and cleaned (your fish monger should be able to do this, and they are already to go in the deli cabinet at the supermarket)
  • 1 Chinese cabbage leaf
  • 3 shallots left whole
  • ½ tsp of sea salt  
  • 2 tbs of light soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 2 tbs shao xing cooking wine
  • 1 tbs caster sugar
  • 1 large knob of Ginger finely julienned
  • 4 shallots finely chopped
  • 3 tbs of peanut oil
  • 1/4 cup of chopped, fresh coriander


With the whole fish on your chopping board, take a sharp knife and make three diagonal slits into the meatiest part of the fish. Repeat this in the opposite direction to create a diamond pattern. Turn the fish and repeat the process on the other side.

Put the cabbage leaf and whole shallots on the bottom of a heatproof bowl that will fit into the steamer and take the fish comfortably. Rub the fish with salt and put it into the bowl on top of the shallots.

Mix the soy, sesame oil, shao xing wine and castor sugar and pour over the fish, then top with the ginger.

Put the bowl in the steamer (I use a bamboo steamer, which you can buy really cheaply at an Asian grocer) over rapidly boiling water and steam for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it though, to ensure it doesn’t over cook.

Remove the bowl from the steamer and scatter the shredded shallots over the fish.

Now for the fun, but dangerous part!! Heat the peanut oil in a small pan until it is smoking, then douse the fish with the oil – be careful, it will spit! (The fish can be served straight from the steamer bowl but if you wish to transfer it to a platter, you should do so before you pour it over the hot oil.)

Top with the fresh coriander and serve straight away.

This dish is full of amazing flavours. I hope you give it a go.

Be Inspired~



About Lisa Mary Foreman @ Uforic Food

I'm the creator Uforic Food - a blog compiled by three journalists whose talents lie in telling fabulous food stories. I'm on a journey to prove you can be healthy and passionate about food at the same time. Ruza lives in the city and is all about sharing her urban food experiences. Laura is the domestic goddess of the group and loves all things food, family and from the heart. Join us at the Uforic Food table where we share recipes, reviews, and all things food. If you'd like to get in touch, email me at

Posted on November 16, 2010, in 30 recipes in 30 days, Recipes, Seafood, summer treats and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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