Friday 3 February 2012

Teochew Style Steamed White-spotted Rabbitfish

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Every year before and during Chinese New Year (CNY) period you would definitely be able to see this auspicious "White-spotted Rabbitfish(白肚鱼/拜年鱼)" available at all wet market fish stalls as well as the seafood sections at major supermarkets. These fish taste especially delicious during this season and they are also big in size and comes with roes that are particularly relished too.

Last year I have shared with you a similar Teochew style recipe known as "Pan-fried White Spotted Rabbitfish With Leeks"(recipe HERE) whereas for this year it would be the steamed version which consists similar ingredients.


My dad used to cook this dish and according to my mum who taught me this recipe over our phone conservation, she mentioned that in order to maintain the texture and taste of the fish it would be good if I blanched it in boiling water before steaming. (in this case the fish is half cooked and it would not release so much water during steaming which will affect the texture of the meat)

So since I wanted to achieve what my dad used to cook for us, I follow my mum's suggestion and steps to dot and surprising it works well. My steamed white-spotted rabbitfish taste almost 90% like my childhood food. Now at least I have master another traditional food in our household which might comes in handy one of these days.

(serves: 2 | Preparation: 10 minutes | Cooking: 10 minutes)

2 Large White-spotted Rabbitfish(白肚鱼/拜年鱼)
2 Stalks Chinese Leek, cut into diagonally sections
2 Slices of Ginger
3 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
1 Tablespoon of Oil
1/2 Tablespoon of Oyster Sauce
50ml Water

1. Clean and rinse the fish, cut a diagonal slit on the fish(refer to the photo stated no. 1 above) to shorten cooking time.

2. Add water to about 1/4 level of the pan and bring it to boil before blanched the fish for about 20 seconds on each side. Remove, rinse, pat dry using kitchen paper towel. Stuff the ginger slice into the stomach area(to get ride of the fishy smell) of each individual fish and set aside on steaming plate.

3. Next saute minced garlic with oil till fragrant, add in leeks and continue to fry for another 20 seconds, before adding in the oyster sauce and water.

4. Simmer the mixture over low heat for another 1 minute or so, remove and drizzle it evenly on top of the prepared fish.

5. Prepare a steamer with boiling water and steam the fish for about 7 minutes or till fish is cooked through. (can take reference from the eyes which would turn white and puffed out) Serve immediately with steamed rice or porridge.

Chinese New Year is almost coming to the end on 06 February 2012(the fifteen day) and I would be submitting my last CNY dish Teochew Style Steamed White-spotted Rabbitfish to this month Aspiring Baker #15 - Auspicious Dishes for CNY (January 2012) that is hosted by Wen of Wen's Delight.

Have a great weekend everyone! Cheers! Can't wait for our Chinese New Year Steamboat Gathering with all my foodie friends tomorrow!!!!


  1. Looks delicious! Have fun at your steamboat gathering! I am craving for steamboat too but have to go marketing for ingredients first.

  2. Ann@Anncoo Journal4/2/12 12:27 am

    My hubby loves this rabbit fish and I only steamed with chilli and fermented black beans. Next time must try your recipe.

  3. Don't think I've ever tried this fish before. What a wonderful recipe for the CNY!  :)  Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful weekend.

  4. I've never seen or heard of Rabbitfish.  I love Chinese steamed fish.  It's always so easy to cook, and delicious.  Have a great weekend Ellena!

  5. Nami | Just One Cookbook5/2/12 7:22 am

     I've never seen or heard of Rabbitfish.  I love Chinese steamed fish. 
    It's always so easy to cook, and delicious.  Have a great weekend

  6. Thanks Nami :) Can't wait to try your new recipe on shrimp balls soon :)

  7. This is a very popular fish that is consumed during Chinese New Year. Perhaps not easy to find over at your side.

  8. I wanted to try steaming it with chilli and fermented black beans too. Just mix the two ingredients and palce on top of the fish and steam?

  9.  Thanks LittleConerofMine. Hope you have a enjoyable Chap Goh Mei(元宵节) :)

  10. food-4tots6/2/12 11:07 pm

    I haven't heard of 拜年鱼. Sounds so auspicious for CNY! Thanks for sharing such great tips to prepare this dish. ;)

  11. I had my share of Beh Tor Hir (rabbitfish) of when I was in SG before the CNY ;)
    Usually it's the part of the fish  near the stomach area that taste bitter. Will your blanching tip work for this too?

  12. Nice! My family's version includes minced chili padi (seeds removed), minced garlic and mashed taucheo. Ahh!! comfort food with a bowl of porridge....Sabby

  13.  I like fish and I cook fish at least once a week but I must recognize I haven't tried Rabbitfish yet... :)

  14. my family is a typical teochew. just cook it in water with light seasoning and ginger.

    realised you did not trim the fins. Its a no no for us to slit a hole at the stomach as thats where all the bao (treasure) is at. And somehow we like the bitterness near the stomach. (weird?) =)


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