Sichuan boiled fish (Shui Zhu Yu, 水煮鱼)

This turned out really well! Dare I say restaurant-quality?

We put inedible whole spices in a tea strainer so that we don’t have to fish the spices out later, kinda like a bouquet garni.

Fish and Marinade

  • 1 lb fish fillets, thinly sliced (white fish, such as tilapia, catfish, cod, flounder, carp, etc)
  • 0-3/4 tsp salt (less if your doubanjiang and douchi are really salty)
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper (white preferred)
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch or other refined cooking starch (potato, tapioca, arrowroot, etc)
  • 1 Tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine (substitute with sake or sherry)
  • 1 egg white (optional, not really sure what this is even supposed to do, we didn’t use it)


  • ~3 cups broth or water
  • Oil
  • 1 inch ginger, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp doubanjiang
  • 2 tsp fermented black beans (douchi)
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 1 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 1 tsp Sichuan chili flakes (optional, depending on desired spiciness)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce (optional, depending on desired saltiness)

Veggies (12-16 oz total)

  • Soybean sprouts
  • Napa cabbage, cut into squares or strips
  • Mushrooms
  • Cucumber, cut into sticks
  • Celery, cut into sticks
  • Whatever else you want!


  • 2 Tbsp chili oil
  • 1 Tbsp Sichuan peppercorn powder or oil concentrate
  • Green onion
  • Cilantro
  • Sesame seeds
  1. Marinate fish for 30 min in cornstarch, cooking wine, salt, and pepper.
  2. Fry the ginger, garlic, douchi, doubanjiang, star anise, cardamom, and chili flakes in oil for a minute or so. Add broth or water. Taste for saltiness before adding soy sauce.
  3. Boil each veggie one at a time in broth. Once done, remove all of that veggie to the serving dish. Lastly, do the same with the fish, being careful to avoid breaking the slices.
  4. Move fish and broth to serving dish. Top with garnishes.

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