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


  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.

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