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Recipe: Steamed Rockfish With Ginger And Green Onion For Chinese New Year

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Chinese New Year is just around the corner, with Jan. 31 kick-starting the year of the horse. One of the things that play a major role in starting the new year right is eating traditional dishes that are thought of to bring luck to you throughout the next 365 days.

And one of those dishes include cooking a whole fish because in Chinese, the word "fish" is a homophone for the word, "abundance." You must keep the head and tail of the fish intact “to ensure a good start and finish and to avoid bad luck throughout the year,” Doris Lum, president of the Association of Chinese Cooking Teachers tells

We bring to you a steamed whole rockfish with ginger and green onions recipe from Jet Tila, Food Network chef and the owner of the Charleston who puts on monthly food tours through Thai Town. He learned how to cook pan-Asian cuisine from his Cantonese grandmother.

Tila has some tips for this dish: "To serve, filet the upper portion of the fish, cutting horizontally along the bone. Cut the bone at the neck, and then peel it back to remove it and reach the bottom portion of the fish. This is a classic Chinese steamed fish recipe. Serve the poached fish with warm steamed rice, which symbolizes wealth and prosperity. A sweet conclusion to your Chinese New Year meal would be tangerines to guarantee you abundant happiness for the year to come."

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Active Work Time: 15 minutes
Total Preparation Time: 45 minutes


1 2-3 lb rockfish, whole with scales, gills, and intestines removed
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper
½ tsp sugar
4 Chinese black mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 20 min., then slice into strips
1 ½ tsp garlic, minced
3 tbsp ginger, finely minced
1 tbsp Shao Shing rice cooking wine
2 tbsp thin soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp cooking oil
2 green onion, finely shredded
cilantro, for garnish


Rinse fish with cold water and pat dry inside and out. Season fish with salt, pepper and sugar inside and out.

Place fish within a large oval heatproof dish. Evenly sprinkle mushroom, garlic, and ginger.

Combine 1 to 2 tbsp of reserved mushroom soaking water with rice wine, and thin soy sauce. Drizzle over fish.

Steam at high for about 10 minutes or until cooked through. Fish should flake off the bone.

Combine oils in a small saucepan and heat to high for about 2 minutes or until almost smoking.

Drizzle hot oil over fish; it will crackle.

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Top fish with shredded green onion and cilantro.

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