Archive of BBC Food Recipes

Steamed fish Cantonese style with braised Sichuan-style spicy bean curd

Prep time 30 mins to 1 hour
Cook time 30 mins to 1 hour
Serves 4
From Saturday Kitchen Best Bites
Ken Hom's steamed fish and spicy tofu may be healthy, but it's packed full of flavour.


  1. For the fish, pat the fish fillets dry with kitchen paper. Rub all over with the salt, then set aside for 30 minutes. This helps the flesh to firm up and draws out any excess moisture.

  2. Prepare a steamer. Alternatively, place a steaming rack into a wok or deep-sided pan filled with 5cm/2in of water. (The surface of the water should not reach the rack.)

  3. When the fish fillets have stood for 30 minutes, transfer them to a heatproof plate and scatter over the ginger. Bring the water in the steamer to the boil and place the plate of fish into the steamer (or onto the rack). Cover the steamer or pan tightly with a lid and steam the fish fillets for 4-5 minutes, or until just cooked through.

  4. When the fish has cooked, remove it from the steamer and sprinkle over the spring onions and soy sauce.

  5. Just before serving, heat the groundnut oil and sesame oil together over a high heat. When the oil is smoking, pour it over the steamed fish.

  6. Meanwhile, for the bean curd, heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat until hot. Add the oil and the yellow bean sauce and stir-fry for 30 seconds.

  7. Add the soy sauce and salt and continue to stir-fry for a further minute. Finally, add the chili powder and continue to stir-fry for 30 seconds.

  8. Carefully pour in the stock (it may spit when it comes into contact with the oil so take care), then add the bean curd cubes and cook for 3 minutes.

  9. Stir in the garlic and the cornflour mixture and cook for a further 1-2 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.

  10. To serve, divide the steamed fish fillets equally among four serving plates. Garnish with the coriander sprigs. Ladle the Sichuan-style spicy bean curd alongside and garnish with the Sichuan peppercorns. Serve immediately.


For the fish

  • 450g/1lb lemon sole fillets, skin removed
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1½ tbsp finely shredded fresh root ginger
  • 3 tbsp finely shredded spring onions
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 2 tsp sesame oil

For the spicy bean curd

  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 tbsp ready-made whole yellow bean sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • ½ tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 170ml/6fl oz hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 450g/1 lb fresh soft bean curd (tofu), cut into 3.5cm/1½in cubes
  • 2 tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp cornflour, mixed to a paste with 1 tbsp water

To serve,

  • fresh coriander sprigs
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, roasted and finely ground

Shopping List

Steamed fish Cantonese style with braised Sichuan-style spicy bean curd

Fruit and vegetables

Cooking ingredients

Dairy, eggs and chilled

Meat, fish and poultry


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