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Tony Tan's five-spiced ‘smoked’ fish with broad bean salad

Australian Gourmet Traveller and Tony Tan Chinese main course recipe for five-spiced ‘smoked’ fish with broad bean salad

By Tony Tan
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 45 mins cooking plus marinating
  • Serves 6
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Five-spiced ‘smoked’ fish with broad bean salad
Despite its name, there is no smoking involved. The fish is first marinated, then deep-fried and finished in a spiced sauce. Any firm fish that does not flake easily is best for this recipe. As for the broad bean salad, you can either serve it whole or mashed. It provides a lovely contrast to the crisp smoked fish. Broad beans are now available frozen and double-peeled from Asian grocers.


Smoked fish
  • 1 kg blue eye, ling or trevally
  • For deep frying: vegetable oil
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced, for garnish
  • 40 gm fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 green onion, coarsely chopped
  • 60 ml light soy (¼ cup)
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
Ginger sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 2 pieces of dried mandarin peel (see note)
  • 2 pieces cassia bark, about 5cm each
  • 60-80 gm rock sugar
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp Sichuan pepper powder
Broad bean salad
  • 100 gm salted pickled mustard greens (see note)
  • 300 gm double peeled broad beans
  • 250 ml chicken stock or water (1 cup)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 60 ml vegetable oil (¼ cup)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped green onion


  • 1
    Cut fish crossways into 2cm thick slices leaving skin on. For the marinade, use a pestle and
    mortar to pound the ginger and extract the juice. Discard pulp and combine juice with the rest of the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Pound the green onion and add to bowl. Season to taste with sea salt. Add fish and marinate for at least 2 hours.
  • 2
    For ginger sauce, heat oil in a wok over high heat add garlic, ginger and green onion and fry until fragrant. Add 700ml water and remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes or until the liquid is reduced to about 400 ml. Strain and discard solids.
  • 3
    Pat fish dry with absorbent paper and discard marinade. Heat oil in a deep-fryer or wok to 180°C. Deep-fry fish, in batches, for about 5-6 minutes, or until crisp. Remove and drain well.
  • 4
    For broad bean salad, wash salted pickled mustard greens and chop very finely. Heat oil over medium heat, add pickled mustard greens and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the broad beans, stir-fry for 30 seconds, then add chicken stock and sugar and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook over high heat until stock is absorbed. Cool, then stir through spring onion.
  • 5
    Return sauce to the boil. Add fish and simmer gently, basting occasionally until sauce is almost evaporated. Ladle onto serving platter and scatter with spring onion. Serve with broad beans.


Note Mustard greens, dried mandarin peel, cassia bark and rock sugar are available from Asian grocery stores. Any mustard greens are fine but a variety called red-in-snow pickles has the best flavour.