This dish owes its origins to the Teochew (also called Chiu Chow) people, a sub-Cantonese group from Guangdong province. It’s widely enjoyed in China, although it is not often seen on menus here. Quick to cook, the recipe requires salted plums and salted mustard greens, available from Asian grocers. It’s a great Chinese New Year dish because a whole fish symbolises the beginning and end of a story.
- 1 (about 1kg) whole pomfret, barramundi, threadfin or coral trout, cleaned
- 100 gm salted mustard greens, soaked in water for 10 mins, drained and thinly sliced
- 3 salted plums, gently squeezed
- 4 cm piece of ginger, cut into fine julienne
- 2 long red chillies, thinly sliced
- 125 ml chicken stock or water (½ cup)
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- ½ tsp white sugar
- 60 ml vegetable oil (¼ cup)
- 3-4 golden shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced diagonally
- To garnish: coriander sprigs
- 1Season fish to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and place on a heatproof plate small enough to fit inside a large steamer basket. Combine mustard greens, salted plums, ginger and chilli and scatter over fish. Combine stock with soy sauce and sugar and drizzle over fish. Place plate in a steamer basket placed over a saucepan of boiling water, cover with lid and steam for 12-15 minutes or until fish is cooked through.
- 2Just before serving, heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat and sauté shallot until lightly golden. Remove fish, pour hot oil and shallot over, scatter with green onion and coriander and serve.