Ching's steamed sea bream with a Vietnamese mint and wild coriander salsa verde

In Yunnan, after spending time fishing with the Dai minority ladies, I was inspired to cook steamed sea bream served with a salsa verde made using local Vietnamese mint and wild coriander.


  • 1 x 675g/1½lb whole, large sea bream, cleaned

  • 2 large pinches of toasted and ground spice mix made from 2 Chinese cardamoms, 3 star anise and 1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns

  • 2 large pinches of sea salt

For the salsa verde
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled, crushed and finely chopped

  • 2.5cm/1in piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped

  • 8 small fresh chillies, finely sliced

  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced

  • large handful of Vietnamese mint (or a few leaves of fresh basil), finely chopped

  • large handful of wild coriander (or farmed coriander), finely chopped

  • 5–6 tbsp groundnut oil

  • ¼ tsp sea salt

  • 2–3 tbsp light soy sauce

Preparation method

  1. Season the fish with the toasted Chinese spices, then season with salt on both sides. Place the fish on a heatproof plate in a bamboo steamer. Half-fill the wok with boiling water, place the steamer over the wok (making sure the base doesn't touch the water), cover and steam on high heat for 10–15 minutes until the flesh of the fish turns opaque and flakes when poked.

  2. While the fish is cooking, combine all the salsa verde ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

  3. To serve, pour the sauce over the fish and accompany with rice and vegetables.

Less than 30 mins preparation time

Less than 10 mins cooking time

Serves 2-4

Quick recipe finder

Type the ingredients you want to use, then click Go. For better results you can use quotation marks around phrases (e.g. "chicken breast"). Alternatively you can search by chef, programme, cuisine, diet, or dish (e.g. Lasagne).

Advanced search options

This recipe is from...

Exploring China: A Culinary Adventure Episode 3 bbc_two Exploring China: A Culinary Adventure

Recipes from this episode

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss