Pan Roasted Bream, Hainanese Style Ginger and Shallot Oil (serves 2)



  • 1 pan sized bream (scaled and gutted)
  • 2 knobs ginger
  • 1 bunch of green shallots
  • 100ml rice bran oil/canola oil
  • Salt
  • Rice flour ½ cup
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice
  • Optional-
  • Asian greens (Buk choy, Chinese broccoli etc)
  • Jasmine rice (1 cup for 2 people)



Sauce- Microplane/finely grate the ginger, finely slice the shallots, add them to a jar or small heat proof bowl, heat 70ml of the oil until just starting to smoke, pour the oil carefully over the ginger and shallots and stir. Leave it for 5 minutes then add about 40ml of water and mix well. Add salt to taste. Refrigerate the dressing until cold.

Fish- Scale and gut the bream and dry really well, trim the fins off with scissors, take a sharp knife and score the flesh a few times on each side, season very lightly and pat dry with paper towel. Make a mix of about half cup of rice flour, a teaspoon of five spice and a pinch of salt. Turn the oven on to 160c. Put a heavy based pan on a high heat, once hot add remaining rice bran oil and swirl around the pan to coat the whole pan. Place your bream into the rice flour mix and evenly coat, dust off excess and place into the hot pan. Turn pan down after about 20 seconds to medium heat and get a nice colour and crust on the fish do not move it around much just be patient. Once a beautiful crust has formed (this will be the presentation side) shake the pan gently to see if the fish is not stuck to the pan, gently flip the fish over and put the pan into the oven. Check after 5 minutes, the flesh should almost be pulling from the bone but not falling off. Take out of the pan and enjoy.

Serve with steamed Asian greens, jasmine rice and add the dressing over the fish as you please.