This is a really easy way to prepare whole fish – which makes for a striking presentation – but if you prefer, fillets can also be used, with the skin on; they will only need to be cooked for 5-8 minutes, depending on thickness. Be very careful when handling the hot oil, take the platter to the stove, don’t bring the oil to the platter.
1 x 700g Murray Cod, scaled, gilled and gutted
50g ginger, peeled and cut into fine matchsticks
½ cup sliced green onion
150ml Shaoxing (see notes)
¼ cup light soy sauce
Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Steamed jasmine rice, for serving
Half fill a wok or large saucepan with water and bring to the boil.
Meanwhile, wipe the belly cavity of the fish thoroughly with a clean damp cloth to remove any trace of blood. Score both sides of the fish with 3 or 4 angled cuts through to the bone.
Place a plate with a lip in a steamer basket, place fish on the plate, scatter half the ginger and half the green onion on top of the fish. Combine Shaoxing and soy sauce and pour over the fish. Place steamer over wok or saucepan, cover and steam for about 15 minutes, until a top fin can be easily pulled out.
Arrange the fish on a serving platter with the cooking juices. Sprinkle white pepper, then remaining ginger and green onion over the fish.
Combine peanut and sesame oils in a small saucepan and heat until it just starts to smoke. Immediately (and carefully) pour it over the fish – it will sizzle.
Serve with steamed rice.
Shaoxing is Chinese rice wine, available from Asian grocery stores.
Barramundi, Coral Trout, Murray Perch, Parrotfish, Snapper.