Steamed snapper with black beans and salted chillies

Neil Perry
Fish and chilli is a winning combination.
Fish and chilli is a winning combination. Photo: William Meppem

Go full steam ahead to chilli heaven with this simple steamed snapper dish. The salted chillies need to be prepared a couple of weeks in advance, but you could use fresh or dried chillies instead. Salted chillies are a great thing to have in your fridge; you will find you use them for everything. Serve this fish dish (or substitute chicken) with steamed greens and rice for a delicious meal, or as one part of a banquet.


1 tsp ginger, finely chopped

2 tsp garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp shaoxing (rice wine)

2 tbsp salted chillies, chopped (see below)

1 tbsp fermented black beans

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp light soy sauce

2 tsp caster sugar

1/2 cup fresh chicken stock

250g snapper fillet, skin on

1 spring onion

2 tbsp shredded coriander leaves


For salted chillies

1kg long red chillies

150g sea salt


To make the salted chillies, rinse and dry the chillies, trim the stems and roughly chop. Mix the chopped chillies with 3/4 of the sea salt, then put the chilli and salt mixture into a glass jar, sprinkle with the rest of the sea salt and put on the lid. Store the jar in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks before using, and refrigerate after opening. These chillies will easily keep for a few months.

Mix ginger, garlic, shaoxing, salted chillies, black beans, sea salt, soy sauce, sugar and chicken stock in a heatproof bowl that fits in your steamer and place the fish in it.

Put water in your steamer and heat until simmering, then place heatproof bowl containing the fish and steam for about 10 minutes, or until the fish is tender.

Serve the fish straight from the steamer or place it on a serving plate and spoon sauce over, then sprinkle with spring onion and coriander.

Photography by William Meppem. Food styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.