Grilled Whole Red Snapper with Orange Sauce橙味烤全鱼chéng wèi kǎo quán yú

Grilled Whole Red SnapperThis recipe showcases the delicacy of this wonderful fish by keeping the seasoning to a minimum and grilling it to give a subtle taste. By having it largely cooked in the oven, you get to enjoy the charred, crispy skin with a very amount of cooking oil. It goes so well with the fresh, sweet and a little bit sharp orange dipping sauce.

You can substitute the whole fish with fish fillet. But grilling the fish with bones intact adds flavour, succulence, and juiciness to the fish. If you prefer, you can cut off the head, but I love its render parts, including the cheek and the insides.

Serves 3-4,  

  • 1 Whole red snapper (or seabass), about 600g红鲷鱼或者海鲈鱼, gutted and cleaned
  • 2 tablespoons Mirin (Japanese Cooking wine), Sweet White wine or high-quality Chinese Cooking wine (see the recipe for homemade one)
  • 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
  • 1 garlic clove roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 spring onion, sliced green part for garnishing, minced white part to add into dipping sauce

Dipping sauce

  • 2 teaspoons                caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons                 fresh orange juice (save the zest for garnishing)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons             light soy sauce生抽
  • 4 tablespoons vegetables stock or water
  • 1 and half tablespoons    white rice vinegar
  • White part of the spring onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon     ground red chili pepper (optional)IMG_6584


  1. Scale the fish, discard the guts and clean well (hopefully you can get the cleaned one from your grocery store.) Pat dry with kitchen paper towel. Slash the fish to allow your seasoning to penetrate evenly later. Place it in a dish.IMG_6585
  2. Mix the cooking wine, sesame seeds, garlic, ginger and sesame oil. Pour the mixture over the fish. Rub the mixture into the slashes in the fish and also into the fish cavity. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes.IMG_6586
  3. Preheat the oven to 200C°(400F°).
  4. Meanwhile make the dipping sauce. Simmer the sugar and orange juice in a sauce pan over a low heat until reduced to a concentrated syrup. Add the soy sauce and stock to simmer for 3 minutes. Then pour the liquid in a dipping sauce plate. Add into the vinegar, minced spring onion and ground red chili pepper. Mix well. Set aside.IMG_7996
  5. Heat a grill pan (any oven heat proof pan) on the stove (it should be able to be placed in the oven later.) over medium heat and add the oil. Pat dry the fish (just remove some of the liquid but can still easily be coated with flour) Dust the fish with flour on both sides. Sprinkle the fish with salt on both sides. Wrap the tail in aluminum foil (so it won’t get burned in the oven later). Turn up the heat to high. Place the fish and cook for 2 minutes till fish nicely charred. Turning the fish and char the other side of the fish for another 2 minutes. This searing process will help lock the moisture of the fish after it is placed in the oven later. Place the fish in the oven. Cook for another 15 minutes.

    6. Remove the fish from the oven. Garnish the fish with sliced green part of spring onion and orange zest. Serve with the dipping sauce.


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