Cantonese Style Sea Bream with Chilli and Ginger Broccoli Florets

by Jacqueline on February 8, 2013

A fishy feast for Chinese New Year

Cantonese Style Sea Bream with Chilli and Ginger Broccoli Florets

Those of you following Great British Chefs will know tonight sees the final for the Scottish category. I have to say (even if I am a little biased, being Scottish) that there has been great humour factored into many of the dishes showcased this week. ..wouldn’t you agree? Ah…Tony Singh, how you will be missed!

By sheer coincidence, today marks my first publication on the Great British Menu Blog and I wanted my first post to pay tribute to Chinese New Year which starts Sunday 10 February 2013.

In 2013 we bid farewell to the “Year of the Dragon” and welcome the “Year of the Snake”. Spending some of my time in Hong Kong means I have been able to witness first hand how incredibly hard working the people here are. Commercial outlets very seldom have days off and merchants including those of a very senior age work tirelessly to sell their wares. There is however, one notable exception; Chinese New Year . I’m pleased to say that it is the one occasion of the year where they take their foot off the gas and pause to reflect and celebrate great fortunes to come.

During Chinese New Year many traditions are adhered to; Victoria Park, plays host to a blooming flower market as residents buy fresh plants and flowers for their homes and offices to signify new beginnings. A Chinese lantern ceremony welcomes newborns and a flurry of red envelopes (“lai see”) containing money is passed from the older to the younger, (more commonly, unmarried) generation.

Laisee Envelopes for CNY

Red envelopes for Chinese New Year

When it comes to food however, there is no more fitting a dish to celebrate Chinese New Year than to serve a whole fish. In Chinese cuisine the whole fish symbolises prosperity and legend has it that eating a whole fish during Chinese New Year will help to bring your wishes true for the coming year.

Many of course will use a steamer or indeed a wok to cook the sea bream, however for this recipe, I will foil bake the fish.

Whole baked Chinese Sea Bream

Cantonese Style Sea Bream


Asian Style Broccoli

Chilli and Ginger Broccoli Florets

Cantonese Style Sea Bream with Chilli and Ginger Broccoli Florets

Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

Serving Size: Serves 1-2 for Lunch or Dinner

A traditional way of bringing in the Chinese New Year, this dish symbolises prosperity as well as delivering wonderful Asian flavours.


    Sea Bream:
  • 1 sea bream (approximately 280g), gutted, scaled, thoroughly cleaned and dried
  • 1/2 carrot, cut into batons
  • 1/2 red pepper cut into batons
  • 2 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • 25g of Chinese mushrooms ,soaked, drained and sliced
  • 2 tsbp of peanut oil, 1tbsp for baking foil and 1tbsp for frying the pepper, carrot and spring onion
  • Dressing
  • 2 tbsp of Shaoxing rice wine
  • 2 tbsp of light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp of oyster sauce
  • 1tbsp of sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp of grated ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, pressed
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Broccoli
  • 1 head of broccoli, approx 600g, stalks removed and cut into florets
  • 1 level tsp of freshly grated ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 bird's eye red chili, sliced with seeds removed
  • 1 tbsp of sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp of peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1/2 juice of a lime
  • 2 tsp of Shaoxing rice wine


    Sea Bream:
  1. Score the fish on both sides with deep diagonal cuts.
  2. In a deep dish (wide enough to fit the fish), mix together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, Shaoxing rice wine, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and black pepper. Place the fish into the dish and ensure both sides have been coated in the marinade. Place the sliced mushrooms on top of the fish and continue to marinate for 2 hours.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
  4. Measure out one large piece of foil (big enough to form a "tent-like" structure round the fish) and lightly oil the centre.
  5. Transfer the sea bream on top, and drizzle the marinade over the top of the fish.
  6. Add the mushrooms.
  7. Fold up the foil. Scrunch together the edges of the foil to make a tent, leaving enough space for the fish to steam.
  8. Place the foil parcel onto a baking tray and cook in the preheated oven at 200°C for approximately 20 minutes.
  9. Check to see whether the fish is cooked by looking at the flesh near the bone in the thickest part. It should be opaque. Scrunch the foil back together, place the parcel on your dish.
  10. Finish off the dish by lightly frying pepper, carrots and spring onions for about 45 seconds in a little peanut oil.
  11. When you are ready to serve, remove the foil and see the sauce gush onto the plate. Garnish the fish with the lightly fried vegetables.
  12. Broccoli:
  13. Put a large pan of water on to boil. Place the florets into steamer or in a colander placed over the pan of boiling water and cover with a lid or some foil.
  14. Steam for 6 minutes or until stalks are tender.
  15. Dressing:
  16. Place the ginger and garlic and chilli into a bowl. Stir in sesame oil, peanut oil, soy sauce and the lime juice. Drizzle in the Shaoxing rice wine. Whisk the dressing together.
  17. When the broccoli is cooked, place it on a serving dish.
  18. Warm up the dressing in a saucepan for approximately 45 seconds before pouring it over the broccoli.
  19. To heighten the experience, serve with fluffy steamed rice and drink ample amounts of warming Jasmine tea.


Sea bass can be used as a replacement for sea bream and Porcini mushrooms can always be used instead of Chinese mushrooms. Preparation time includes marinating time.

To all those celebrating, I would like to wish you “Kung Hei Fat Choi” (Happy New Year). Health and happiness in the Year of the Snake.

What will you be eating for Chinese New Year?

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ang February 8, 2013 at 7:32 pm

I definitely need to be more adventurous when it comes to fish. Great dish worthy of any celebration.


2 Jacqueline February 8, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Thanks Angela. Very easy to make, tasty and reasonably healthy :-)


3 Fiona Maclean February 8, 2013 at 7:56 pm


Are you still in HK?


4 Jacqueline February 8, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Thanks Fiona – in London for month of February :-)


5 Petra February 8, 2013 at 8:39 pm

This sounds great and a very pretty dish! Will try to cook some Chinese this weekend in celebration.


6 Jacqueline February 8, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Thanks Petra. What Chinese dish will you prepare this weekend?


7 Petra February 9, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Like you I got a seabream and thought I would try stuffed prawns but have never done it. I also got pig cheeks and will give them an Asian twist!


8 Jacqueline February 9, 2013 at 6:22 pm

That sounds like a treat and a great way to celebrate CNY :-)


9 Laura@howtocookgoodfood February 8, 2013 at 9:49 pm

This is such a perfect dish. If I could eat this once a week I would be very happy. I must admit I find good fish hard to come by so tend to order it every time I go out for dinner. Happy Chinese New Year!


10 Jacqueline February 9, 2013 at 7:20 am

Thanks Laura. I try to eat fish twice a week but it doesn’t always pan out like that :-)


11 Camilla @FabFood4All February 8, 2013 at 11:40 pm

I’m meant to be filling in an application form but your fish is far more appealing and I just love the delicious combination of flavours you have used which are such a lovely contrast to the delicate fish flavour. Another winner Jacqueline and get you being on Great British Menu Blog:-)


12 Jacqueline February 9, 2013 at 7:21 am

Thanks Camilla. I was really honoured to be invited to write for them. Good luck with your application form :-)


13 Mich Piece of Cake February 9, 2013 at 4:39 am

What a delicious and simple meal. This is really comfort food for me.


14 Jacqueline February 9, 2013 at 7:22 am

Thanks Michelle – hope you are enjoying the Chinese New Year festivities in Singapore.


15 Rachel K @MarmadukeS February 9, 2013 at 12:21 pm

I adore sea bream and this is perfection! As a kid growing up in KL, Chinese New Year was one of my favourite festivals (and we had a lot!) – I remember the excitement of seeing the red envelopes and wondering how much money I was going to get (greedy child!)

Tomorrow I am roasting some pork – probably char sui style – but with British trimmings! (Definitely roast potatoes, but perhaps not Yorkshire puds!)


16 Jacqueline February 9, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Thanks Rachel – growing up in KL sounds like fun! Char Sui Pork sounds delicious – a nice fusion with roast potatoes :-)


17 Maggie February 10, 2013 at 12:34 pm

This is a beautiful dish – ah yes I too will miss Tony Singh, just naturally funny. Unfortunately, I haven’t made anything to celebrate the Chinese New Year.


18 Jacqueline February 10, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Thanks Maggie – yes I thought he did really well considering the GB Menu brief. Well, Chinese New Year runs until Wednesday – you still have time :-)


19 rita cooks italian February 11, 2013 at 7:26 am

I almost forgot that it is The Chinese New Year week! I have to celebrate and cook some good Chinese food like this sea bream. I love Chinese food when the recipe is simple and full of flavours!


20 Jacqueline February 11, 2013 at 8:50 am

Thanks Rita – Happy Chinese New Year!


21 Nic February 12, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Congrats on being on the GBC, will look forward to reading your posts.
Lovely recipe, perfect for Chinese New Year!


22 Jacqueline February 13, 2013 at 8:46 am

Thanks Nic – it was nice to be asked to write for GBC :-)


23 Jo February 19, 2013 at 7:51 pm

That’s wonderful Jacqueline, I will look forward to reading your contributions to GBC. I was away on Chinese New Year and didn’t get to celebrate. This will be the perfect catch up meal for me & my pescetarian partner, can’t wait to try it out!


24 Jacqueline February 20, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Hi Jo, I’ve been following your journeys on Twitter and Blog sounds and looks like you have been having a blast!


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