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Steamed Red Snapper with Ginger, Green Onions and Chilli: #Remipe for weight control

This is a recipe I learnt from Phoebe, my girlfriend from Hong Kong who mastered Cantonese home cooking from her mother. I was so impressed by her home recipes whenever I was invited to one of her dinner parties – fresh, light, delicious and so simple! I never imagined how beautiful Cantonese cuisine could be before I tasted her food.

This dish also has a great theatrical effect at the end - perfect for delighting guests or family. Once the fish is steamed, you heat ¼ cup of peanut oil in a small saucepan and pour it over the fish and fresh herbs. This creates a wonderful sizzling noise and aroma which is a perfect final flourish to enhance the flavour of the dish and build up excitement and anticipation for the food.

Red snapper is a very versatile fish to cook – you can grill it with herbs, make fish soup, or try pan-seared snapper with a tomato and wine sauce. I must admit though, steaming it Cantonese style is definitely my favourite way of all.

Red snapper is low in calories and high in protein, which means it can help you lose extra weight whilst also lowering your risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and osteoarthritis. An 80g serving of red snapper only has 109 calories (the equivalent of 2 apples!) and contains 22 grams of protein (44% of your daily recommended allowance, based on a 2,000 calorie diet*). Protein is a satisfying nutrient that digests slowly and reduces hunger so meals such as this that are high in protein can help you control your weight.

*References – Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010

Enjoy this elegant, fragrant and wonderfully healthy dish that will please everyone!

Serves 2-4 people


1 red snapper that will fit your steamer (you can create a steamer by fitting a stainless steel collapsible steamer basket into a wok or wide saucepan with a lid and placing a dinner plate on top of the basket)

1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped (the whole lot including its roots, stem and leaves)

2cm ginger, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons chopped green onions

2 tablespoons soy sauce

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon fresh chilli, thinly sliced (optional)

¼ cup peanut oil


Bring water to the boil in your steamer (keep the water level under the steamer basket).

Prepare the fish on a dinner plate by placing the ginger, green onions and coriander under the fish, in the cavity and on top of the fish. Set aside a small quantity of green onions and coriander to use as a garnish later on.

Sprinkle soy sauce, salt and pepper over the fish.

Place the plate with the prepared fish into the steamer once water has boiled and cook for around 15 minutes or until cooked.

Garnish the cooked fish with fresh green onions, coriander and chilli if using.

Heat the peanut oil over a high heat in a small saucepan and pour it over the fish (take care not to burn yourself at this stage).

Serve with rice or salad.

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