It's not unusual for me to eat seafood five times per week, so I make the most of the fresh fish we have available in this country. The wonderful smoky-nuttiness of the hot peanut oil brings this classic Cantonese recipe together, infusing the aromatic ginger, soy and sugar.

Photography: William Meppem Styling: Hannah Meppem

Photography: William Meppem Styling: Hannah Meppem


4 x 100g snapper fillets

1/3 cup water

2 tbsp shao hsing wine

2 tbsp ginger julienne

1 Chinese cabbage (wombok) leaf

1/2 tsp white sugar

2 tbsp light soy sauce

1/4 tsp sesame oil

1/2 cup spring onion, julienned

1 1/2 tbsp peanut oil

1/4 cup coriander leaves


1. Place fish in a shallow heat proof bowl that will fit inside a steamer basket. Pour water and wine over fish, then sprinkle with half the ginger. Place bowl inside steamer and position over a deep saucepan or wok of boiling water and steam, covered, for 5-6 minutes.

2. Cut Chinese cabbage leaf into four squares and slip inside steamer. Cover and steam for a further 2-3 minutes, or until cabbage has warmed through and fish is just cooked. The flesh should be white; if it is still translucent, cook for another minute or so.

3. Remove cabbage from steamer and arrange on a serving plate. Using a spatula, carefully remove fish fillets from steamer, and place on top of hot cabbage.

4. Pour any liquid left in bowl over fish, sprinkle with sugar and drizzle with combined soy sauce and sesame oil, then sprinkle with remaining ginger and half the spring onion.

5. Heat peanut oil in a small frying pan until moderately hot, then carefully pour over fish. Sprinkle fish with remaining spring onion, coriander, and serve at once.