Chinese New Year Recipe (Fish)

Every new year is the mark of new beginnings, and wishes of good health, more wealth, togetherness, and other good tidings are common.  Eating fish during the Lunar New Year is a must for Chinese families as it signifies: “Nian Nian You Yu” (happiness every year). Here are eight of our most delicious and prosperous fish recipes to try!

Fish Escabeche Ingredients

1 whole maya-maya (grouper)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon flour, for dredging

cooking oil, for deep-frying

1 teaspoon garlic

1 tablespoon ginger root, julienned

2 medium red onion, sliced

2 pieces green bell pepper, sliced into strips

2 tablespoons cooking oil

2 cups water

1/4 cup vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 3 tablespoons water

1 medium carrot, julienned


Rub the fish with salt and pepper. Dredge with flour and then deep-fry in very hot oil.  Set aside.

In a wok, lightly sauté garlic, ginger, onions, carrots, and bell peppers in oil.

Add the water, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and corn starch. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until the starch is cooked and sauce is thick.

Place the fish on a platter and pour the sauce over the fish. Serve warm.

Steamed Tilapia

2 500-gram whole tilapia, scaled and gutted

1 white onion, sliced

1 (1-inch) fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

2 cloves garlic, sliced

2 tablespoons shaoxing wine (chinese rice wine)

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 bunch cilantro (wansoy), divided

5 green onion, sliced thinly

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon chinese rice wine

2 tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

white pepper

2 tablespoons brown sugar

4 tablespoons canola oil

10 cloves garlic, finely chopped

How to cook Chinese-Style Steamed Tilapia

Clean the fish and pat dry with paper towels.

Line a steamer with a double thickness of parchment paper or aluminium foil. Lay the onion slices, and a few slices of the garlic and ginger on the parchment or foil; put the fish on top of the aromatics.  Stuff the cavity of the fish with the remainder of the garlic and ginger. Grab a few sprigs of the cilantro, roughly tear it, and stuff it into the cavity as well. Top the fish with the soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and sesame oil.

Steam the fish for about 30 minutes or until just cooked. You can test for doneness by inserting the tip of a small knife into the flesh. It should flake easily when cooked.

Make the sauce: Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer; let bubble for about a minute. Remove from heat and set aside, but keep warm.

When the fish is done, remove the fish from the steamer and transfer to a plate. Tent the fish with foil to keep it warm.

Make the garlic oil:  Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and fry until golden.

Uncover the fish and pour the prepared sauce over it. Top generously with the remaining cilantro sprigs and spring onions. Take the pan of garlic oil and, while still sizzling, pour over the fish. Serve immediately.

Rellenong Bangus

2 pieces 600-gram bangus, deboned, cleaned of scales

12 pieces calamansi, juiced

4 tablespoons soy sauce

1 pieces medium red onion

1 head garlic, minced

1 piece medium carrot, grated

1 1/2 piece medium red bell peppers, minced

1/2 kilo ground pork

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon soy sauce

5 tablespoons green peas

4 tablespoons raisins

2 tablespoons sugar

6 pieces large eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

vegetable oil


Prepare the fish: Lay the butterflied fish open on a tray or baking sheet. Using a spoon, carefully scrape the flesh from the bangus, avoiding the belly area and the outer edges of the fish. (Not scraping off the meat on the outermost rim of the fish and the belly will make sewing the fish closed easier.) Scrape the meat into a bowl while removing any leftover bones, and cover. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix calamansi juice and soy sauce. Pour over the inside of the fish. Massage it in for around two minutes, taking care that every bit is completely seasoned. Flip the fish a few times to completely season. Insert seasoned fish into a large resealable bag with any leftover marinade and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Make the stuffing: In a wok or pan over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add onion, garlic, carrots, and red bell pepper, and sauté. Add in ground pork and season with salt and pepper. When ground pork has browned, add reserved fish meat. Add soy sauce, green peas, raisins, and sugar. When cooked, taste for seasoning and adjust as needed to your liking. Set aside to cool.

To assemble: Beat eggs and add to the stuffing mixture, mixing well. Set aside. Lay the marinated fish skin on a chopping board, skin side down. Pile half the stuffing mixture on one side of the fish. Lift and then pull the fish skin over the mixture to enclose the stuffing inside the bangus skin. With a needle and thread, sew the fish closed. (If preparing ahead of time, freeze the fish in a resealable bag. When ready to cook, thaw for an hour and then proceed to Step 5.)

When ready to fry, coat each fish with flour. In a large frying pan or wok, add around two cups of oil or enough to submerge at least one side of the fish. Once the oil is hot, fry each fish on medium-high heat until the skin becomes crisp and brown. Repeat on the other side. Remove from the oil and drain. Repeat with the other fish.

When ready to serve, slice the fish and serve with hot rice and, if desired, ketchup.