Chefs' Recipes

Victor Liong's Sichuan sour and spicy poached fish with pickled mustard greens

A sweet-sour dish by the Lee Ho Fook chef that showcases the depth of flavours from Hunanese and Sichuan cuisines.

By Victor Liong
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 20 mins cooking (plus marinating)
  • Serves 4
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Victor Liong's Sichuan sour and spicy poached fish with pickled mustard greens
"This can be made into a hotpot-style soup base," says Victor Liong. "It's an exciting dish that showcases the depth of Hunan and Sichuan flavours. I like its vibrant acidity, which can be rare in Chinese cookery."


  • 60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil or melted lard
  • 10 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped, plus 2 tsp finely chopped
  • 40 gm ginger, sliced
  • 200 gm pickled mustard greens (see note), rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • 100 gm picked green chillies (see note), cut into 1 cm-thick pieces
  • ½ cup (loosely packed) coriander
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
Marinated fish
  • 1½ tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 tsp cornflour
  • ¾ tsp caster sugar
  • 500 gm skinless Murray cod fillets, pin-boned and cut 1cm thick on an angle
Chicken broth
  • 1 litre (4 cups) chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 3 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional), to taste
Mustard-chilli oil
  • 100 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp mustard oil (see note)
  • 20 gm ( ⅔ cup) dried small red chillies, cut into 1cm lengths
  • 2 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns


  • 1
    For marinated fish, combine ingredients, except Murray cod, with 1½ tsp salt flakes and 1 tbsp water in a bowl,add fish and refrigerate for 30 minutes to marinate.
  • 2
    For chicken broth, bring ingredients (except lemon juice) and 1 tbsp salt to a simmer in a small saucepan. Keep warm.
  • 3
    Heat oil in a large wok over medium heat. Add coarsely chopped garlic and ginger, and stir-fry until garlic starts turning light golden (1-2 minutes). Add pickled greens and chilli and stir-fry until dry and wilted (4-6 minutes). Add broth, bring to a simmer and season to taste with lemon juice. It should be salty and sour.
  • 4
    Remove pickled vegetables and place in a serving dish. Bring soup in wok to the boil over medium-high heat, then add fish and stir gently to separate. Bring to a light simmer (about 40 seconds after adding fish), then remove from heat. Transfer soup and fish to serving dish with pickled vegetables.
  • 5
    Scatter over coriander, heap spring onion in the centre and top with finely chopped garlic.
  • 6
    For mustard-chilli oil, heat oils in a saucepan over high heat. When it starts smoking (1-2 minutes), add chilli and peppercorns, and stir quickly to infuse (a few seconds).
  • 7
    Pour hot mustard-chilli oil over finely chopped garlic to release the fragrance, stir into soup and serve immediately.


Pickled mustard greens and pickled green chillies are available from most Asian supermarkets. Fefferoni peppers are a great substitute for pickled green chillies. Mustard oil is available from Indian grocers.