Chef's Recipes

Neil Perry: Steamed blue-eye with black beans

Australian Gourmet Traveller Chinese banquet recipe for Neil Perry's steamed blue-eye with black beans.

By Neil Perry
  • Serves 4
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 15 mins cooking
Neil Perry: Steamed blue-eye with black beans
Neil Perry: Steamed blue-eye with black beans

When I’m cooking this at home, I often add a few chopped red chillies to spark things up. A lot of cookbooks advise you to wash the black beans, but I believe it takes away too much of their flavour. Look for balance – if this is too strong for you, add fewer beans. As a steamed dish, this fits well with a braise and a stirfry to create a wonderful shared table.

This recipe is from Neil Perry’s cookbook Balance and Harmony: Asian Food (Murdoch Books, $125, hbk).


  • 2 green onions, trimmed and halved
  • 300 gm piece of blue-eye trevalla fillet, cut into 2 pieces
  • 2 tbsp fermented black beans, chopped (see note)
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp Shaoxing wine (see note)
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) peanut oil


  • 1
    Put the green onion in a large shallow heatproof bowl and place the fish on top. Combine the black beans, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and Shaoxing and pour over the fish. Put the bowl in a large bamboo steamer over a saucepan or a wok of rapidly boiling water, cover with the lid and steam until the fish is just cooked through (7-8 minutes). Carefully remove the bowl from the steamer.
  • 2
    Heat the peanut oil in a small saucepan until just smoking and douse the fish with the hot oil before serving.


Fermented black beans and Shaoxing wine are available from Asian supermarkets.
Prawns and scallops are great with this sauce, but you could use any fish you like. I sometimes cook large Pacific oysters this way as well; they make a great starter for a grand gathering. If you really want to spoil your guests, split a lobster or chop up a mud crab – that would turn your meal into a royal banquet. Chicken thighs and pork spare ribs also go well with this sauce. As a matter of fact, it goes well with just about anything.

  • Author: Neil Perry