Archive of BBC Food Recipes

Ching's steamed sea bream with a Vietnamese mint and wild coriander salsa verde

Prep time less than 30 mins
Cook time less than 30 mins
Serves 2-4
From Exploring China: A Culinary Adventure
In Yunnan, after spending time fishing with the Dai minority ladies, I was inspired to cook steamed sea bream served with a salsa verde made using local Vietnamese mint and wild coriander.


  1. Season the fish with the toasted Chinese spices, then season with salt on both sides. Place the fish on a heatproof plate in a bamboo steamer. Half-fill the wok with boiling water, place the steamer over the wok (making sure the base doesn't touch the water), cover and steam on high heat for 10–15 minutes until the flesh of the fish turns opaque and flakes when poked.

  2. While the fish is cooking, combine all the salsa verde ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

  3. To serve, pour the sauce over the fish and accompany with rice and vegetables.


  • 1 x 675g/1½lb whole, large sea bream, cleaned
  • 2 large pinches of toasted and ground spice mix made from 2 Chinese cardamoms, 3 star anise and 1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 2 large pinches of sea salt

For the salsa verde

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled, crushed and finely chopped
  • 2.5cm/1in piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 8 small fresh chillies, finely sliced
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • large handful of Vietnamese mint (or a few leaves of fresh basil), finely chopped
  • large handful of wild coriander (or farmed coriander), finely chopped
  • 5–6 tbsp groundnut oil
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 2–3 tbsp light soy sauce

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Ching's steamed sea bream with a Vietnamese mint and wild coriander salsa verde

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