Super easy steamed fish with chili sauce and fermented black beans.
In the past two weeks, I was busying making my favorite Chinese fermented chili sauce also known as Hunan chili sauce at home. That special long and red peppers are just in the season and I just catch the tail after backing from large mountains. This is one of the easiest sauces but it can be widely used in lots of dishes especially steamed dishes and dipping sauces. It also can be used in stir-frying dishes in my common cooking as a good substitute of Sichuan pickled pepper.
Fermented chili sauce or Hunan chili sauce is famous for two dishes, from Hunan cuisine. The first one steamed fish head with chili sauce (剁椒鱼头) and steamed taro with chili sauce (剁椒芋头). Almost the must order dish in Hunan restaurants. But I figure out that fish head is not so popular outside Sichuan and Hunan area. And taro is quite seasonal. So I give two recipes with more common ingredients—whole fish and tofu. This collection is for beginners.
- Fermented chili paste is quite salty itself. So there is no need to add extra oil.
- Since we only eat the fish meat, not the oil, not the sauce and peppers, I do not calculate them completely in the nutrition labels. It actually is a very healthy, even though hot steamed dish.
- For a larger fish, cut lines on thicker meat can guarantee more uniform heating.
- If you don't want a spicy version, check Cantonese steamed fish with ginger and scallion.
1.Clean the fish and then cut a small line to separate the thick meat. Add ginger sheds on surface and inside the stomach.
2.In a small pan, add around 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and then fry garlic, spring onion for a while. Add chili sauce and fermented black beans. Fry until aromatic. Then add 2 tablespoons of cooking wine and 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce. Mix well.
3. Spread the sauce over the fish. And then steam over middle fire for 8 to 10 minutes.
Spread some chopped green onion. Heat around 2 tablespoons of hot oil and pour over the fish. This can improve the flavor. Do not be scared by the image, I do not use all of the oil for the fish.
Steamed fish with chili sauce
- 1 fresh water fish , no more than 800g
- 1 thumb ginger , shredded
- 2 tbsp. hot vegetable cooking oil
- 3 tbsp. fermented chili sauce
- 2 tbsp. cooking wine
- ½ tbsp. oyster sauce
- 3 garlic cloves , chopped
- 2 green onions , chopped
- 2 tablespoon vegetable cooking oil
- ½ tbsp. fermented black beans
- Clean the fish and then cut a small line to separate the thick meat. And add some shredded ginger (both on the surface and inside the stomach)
- In a small pan, add around 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and then fry garlic, spring onion for a while. Add chili sauce and fermented black beans. Fry until aromatic. Then add 2 tablespoons of cooking wine and 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce. Mix well.
- Spread the sauce over the fish. And then steam over middle fire for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Spread some chopped green onion. Heat around 2 tablespoons of hot oil and pour over the fish. This can improve the flavor. Do not be scared by the image, I do not use all of the oil for the fish.
could you explain a little bit more about the type of fish you are using there, so I can get something comparable? For freshwater fish I can get a wide variety from carps or perches to trouts which are all quite different in taste and in texture. I'd appreciate any hints, like if it's from running waters or lakes, from warm or cold climate, has more or less fat or if it's a predatory fish.
I guess it's a perch. So I would choose a sea bass, which I like, because the have a firm meat and a fresh taste and it's easy to buy where I live. Also (what would be more authentic for Hunan cuisine I guess) fresh water perches like Black Bass. My girlfriend is from Jiangxi and they just use fresh water perches for recipes like this.
Thank you very much for the explanation Elaine, that really helps a lot.
I'm terribly sorry Marius... I just mixed this up.
Yes, you are right, this looks like a perch. I'll try one of the European freshwater perches then.
Since the chili sauce is quite strong in flavor, you can try with more fresh water types with this recipe. It can be quite good with most of the fresh water fishes.
Thanks so much for the information. Yes, it is a perch. Most of fresh water fishes can be used in this recipe. Perch is quite expensive here in China and I use it just because it has less bones and my families are not good at removing the bones.
Love your website! Very authentic recipes, and so tasty. I too would appreciate some guidance on the fish . I have access to a bunch of Chinese and Asian markets, so we should be able to find an approropriate fish if you can tell us the fish names that are commonly used in American English.
I suggest you choose fresh water fish like perch or snake head.
Hi ... Firstly thank you for sharing your recipes secondly if you can’t get Chinese white spirits what can be in place ...
Can I make this with black bean Lao Gan Ma?
Sure. Lao Gan Ma is a brilliant seasoning.
"I figure out that fish head is not so popular outside Sichuan and Hunan area."
大头鱼 is in every market here in Guangxi.
I don't know why, either. People in other areas refuses to eat fish head.
Made this tonight with some snapper from Costco. Delicious and easy! Looks great as well!
Forgot to leave a rating
Thank you, Alex.