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Easy Chinese Fish Recipe

Fast & Easy Dinner: Five-Spice Snapper

Once you learn about a new ingredient, like five-spice powder, the best way to get to know it is to cook with it. To experiment with China's most popular spice blend, consider this recipe. The five-spice powder gives the fish a sweet, spicy, and pungent flavor.

A quick and simple slaw consisting of napa cabbage, scallions, and soy sauce is an ideal crunchy companion to the dish. If you can't find snapper, substitute another firm-fleshed fish. To get the recipe keep reading.

Five-Spice Snapper

Five-Spice Snapper

Five-Spice Fish Recipe


  1. 4 tablespoons vegetable oil or peanut oil
  2. Four 6-ounce red snapper fillets
  3. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  4. 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  5. 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  6. 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  7. 1 medium head napa cabbage (about 1-3/4 pounds), shredded
  8. 1 bunch of scallions (8 to 10), cut into thirds, then shredded lengthwise into matchsticks
  9. 1/4 cup soy sauce
  10. 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or cider vinegar
  11. 2 tablespoons honey


  1. In a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Score the skin side of the fish with a few crosshatch marks to keep it from curling. Season the fish with salt, pepper, and the five-spice powder. Put the fish in the skillet, skin side down, and cook, turning once, until it’s no longer raw in its thickest part, about 4 minutes on each side.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil. When the oil ripples, add the ginger, garlic and cabbage. Wilt and sear the cabbage for 3 to 4 minutes, then add the scallions and cook for another minute.
  3. Add the soy sauce, vinegar and honey. Toss the cabbage to coat evenly with the sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Pile the ginger-scallion cabbage on dinner plates and top with the red snapper.

Serves 4.

Join The Conversation
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
Akay, thanks for the info! I was thinking the same thing when i saw "snapper". I have tons of wild salmon I need to start using so I will try this recipe and hope for the best. Thanks again for bringing awareness to such and important topic!!
akay akay 8 years
Some kinds of snapper have been unsustainably fished, making it a poor choice for an eco-conscious eater. The Environmental Defense Fund advises against Red, Imported, Vermillion, and Silk Snapper ( Mutton or Yellowfin Snapper are relatively better choices, but still problematic. Similarly tasting fish with very well maintained populations and non-destructive fishing methods are Mahimahi from the U.S., farmed Striped Bass, and Alaskan or Canadian Sablefish (also known as Black Cod).
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