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Sichuan Spicy Fish

This Sichuan spicy fish recipe makes you sit up and take note. It’s spicy, tingly and absolutely full of gusto. Definitely one for fans of heat!


Sichuan Spicy Fish

10 minutes
15 minutes

400g (14 oz) white fish fillets, sliced into strips 

1 cup bean shoot 

1 cup snow pea shoots 

2 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced 

1 tsp sesame seeds 

steamed rice or noodles, to serve 



1  tbsp cornflour(cornstarch) 

1  tsp salt 

1  tbsp Chinese Shaoxing cooking wine 


Spicy broth: 

2 tbsp vegetable oil 

3 star anise 

1 cinnamon stick 

1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns 

6 green cardamom pods 

20 dried red birdseye chillies 

5 garlic cloves, finely chopped 

4cm (1.5″) piece ginger, peeled, finely julienned 

1 tbsp doubanjiang chilli paste* 

2 tsp salted fermented black beans*, soaked in water for 10 minutes 

4 cups fish or chicken stock 

2 tbsp soy sauce 


Chilli oil topping: 

3 tbsp chilli oil (try my homemade chilli oil recipe) 

1 tbsp vegetable oil 

10 dried red birdseye chillies 

  • Step 1

    Place the fish slices and marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Mix until well combined. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the dish

  • Step 2

    To make the spicy broth, heat the oil in a wok or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the star anise, cinnamon stick, Sichuan peppercorns, cardamom pods and dried chillies. Allow the spices and chillies to sizzle for a minute. Then add the garlic and ginger. Stir-fry for another half a minute. Now add the doubanjiang. Drain the salted black beans and add them to the pan. Pour in the stock and add the soy sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. 

  • Step 3

    In the meantime, heat a small pot of water over high heat until boiling. Add the bean shoots and snow pea sprouts and cook for half a minute. Drain and place in a large serving bowl.  Add the fish into the simmering broth and cook for 3 minutes or until just cooked. Transfer the fish and broth to the serving bowl with the vegetables. Sprinkle over the spring onions and sesame seeds.  

  • Step 4

    Wipe out the pan you cooked the broth in and set it back over a high heat to make the chilli oil topping. Add the chilli oil and vegetable oil into the hot pan. Then add the chillies and stir-fry for a few seconds. Pour the hot oil over the broth so that it makes the spring onion sizzle. 

  • Step 5

    Serve with steamed rice or noodles. 

  • Notes

    – Doubanjiang is a type of fermented chilli and broad bean paste. 

    – Doubanjiang and salted black beans are available online or from an Asian grocery store.

What fish is best for boiling?

White fish are generally some of the best fish to boil, which is why we’ve used it for this Sichuan Spicy Fish recipe. Halibut, cod, tilapia and hake are all good for boiling. Salmon also works but white fish is best for this recipe.

What is white fish?

Our Sichuan Spicy Fish recipe calls specifically for ‘white fish’. However, if you don’t know exactly what white fish is and you don’t want to seem like a total rookie to your fishmonger – fear not! White fish is simply a term used for any white fleshed fish… we’re talking cod, tilapia, halibut, snapper – all those white-fleshed fishies.

How long do you boil fish?

Nearly any fish can be cooked by being boiled. The cooking times, however, do vary – in our Sichuan Spicy Fish recipe, we add the fish to the spicy broth and boil for three minutes until it’s just cooked. However, if you’re boiling larger segments of fish you may need up to 8 minutes, and if you’re hoping to boil an entire fish you’re going to need about 15 to 20 minutes.

How can you tell when boiled fish is cooked?

Telling when fish is cooked can be especially difficult if you’re not a huge seafood person… but we have some tips to help make it a whole lot easier. The easiest way to tell when your fish is cooked, especially when you are using boiling as a cooking method is to use the humble fork.

Make sure you have a fork handy, and when you think your fish is about done, stick your fork into the thickest section of your fish. Gently wiggle your fork around – if your fish is cooked it should flake easily and will no longer be translucent.

Marion's Kitchen is for everyone who finds joy in flavour and happiness in every bite. Marion's Kitchen is for everyone who finds joy in flavour and happiness in every bite.

What our customers say

Rated 5.0 out of 5
5.0 out of 5 stars (based on 2 reviews)
Very good0%
September 14, 2023

Absolutely delicious!

Delicious dish. It is spicy & bc Marion likes a lot of spice, I only used 10 sundried chillies. My grocer a

@ the Asian store didn’t have cardamom pods so I used about a teaspoon of ground nutmeg. He also didn’t have the snow ea shoots & suggested enolie mushrooms which I did use a cup of & a cup of snow peas as well along w/the bean shoots. I served it w/jasmine rice on the side. I loved the dish & my picky eating husband did as well & he had 2nds.

September 8, 2022

Deliciously Spicy

Made this last night, absolutely yum. Spicy, tasty, full of flavour. The fish was so silky. I served with a bowl of Jasmine Rice on the side, which was a perfect accompaniment 👌🌶

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