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Chinese New Year Whole Fish (Snapper) Recipe 2015



It has been almost 15 years ago when I had this dish for the very first time. My friend’s mother cooked this dish for me when I was living in Hong Kong. It was simple but yes so delicious and the presentation and taste forever stayed in my head. This dish also has an important meaning behind it. The pronunciation of the fish in Chinese is 魚 (yu) which is same as 余 - the characters mean that there will be more than enough food for the coming year and it is important to serve a whole fish for this reason too. I will show the recipe in another post, but here is the recipe where I hope you will enjoy this dish and have a very prosperous New Year 2015!

How you eat your fish matters too!

Some rules related to the position of the fish.

  • The head should be placed toward distinguished guests or elders, representing respect.
  • Diners can enjoy the fish only after the one who faces the fish head eats first.
  • The fish shouldn’t be moved. The two people who face the head and tail of fish should drink together, as this is considered to have a lucky meaning.


Serves: 2
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 8 minutes


1 Whole Snapper – skin on (580g)
2 spring onion – cut green part into 10cm length, cut white part julienne slice
4 x slices of ginger (20g)


1 1/2 tsp Rice vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp white sugar
2 Tbsp water
1/8 tsp sesame seed oil
pinch of white pepper



  1. Place green part of the spring onion on a plate (make sure the plate will fit into your steamer) and place 3 sliced ginger on top then lay the fish on top of the ginger.
  2. In a large wok or frying pan, fill water up to 3cm from bottom and place the bamboo basket in the pan and bring water to boil. Put the plate of snapper in the basket and close the lid. Steam on high heat for 8minutes (you can use your own steamer if you don’t have a bamboo steamer).
  3. While you are waiting for the snapper to be cooked, mix all the sauce ingredients in a ramekin and set aside.
  4. Once the snapper is cooked, take the whole bamboo basket out from the wok (I am going to use the bamboo basket as presentation dish), place the bamboo basket on top of another plate. Place white part of spring onion on top of the fish.
  5. Heat up a small frying pan and add 2-3 Tbsp of cooking oil. once the oil is very hot, pour the oil on top of the spring onion to cook the spring onion.
  6. Pour the sauce mixture on top of the fish and serve!





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