Spiced Fish

Ian Pengelley creates a magical main course with this fabulous 'walking' spiced fish, steamed to flaky perfection
By Ian Pengelley
Spiced Fish
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: medium



  • 450 g whole gilt-head bream or red snapper, cleaned and scales removed
  • 1 Chinese cabbage

For the spice mix:

  • 2 green chillies
  • 4 pinches of sea salt
  • 2.5cm knob of ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 clove garlic, peeled
  • 10 white peppercorns
  • 4 coriander stalks

For the Nam-pla:

  • 50 ml fish sauce
  • 4 bird's eye chillies, finely chopped


1. Make three diagonal cuts on each side of the fish

2. For the compound mixture, simply pound all the ingredients together using a pestle and mortar until the mixture resembles a paste. Rub this thoroughly into the fish.

3. For the nam-pla, mix together the fish sauce and chopped chillies.

4. Skewer the fish's tail with the bamboo, then bend the head round and push the tip of the skewer between the head and body of the fish. It should stand up.

5. Chop the Chinese leaf into rough chunks. Put the fish on the leaf and steam in a large bamboo steamer for twelve minutes.

6. Serve immediately with the Nam-pla.

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