Fish dishes are generally quick and easy to prepare. They are perfect when you are short on time but need a satisfying and healthy dish for your meal.
Take this delightfully simple ginger and scallion pan-fried fish fillet recipe, for example. The prep work usually takes around 10-15 minutes, while the cooking time should be under 5 minutes, meaning it should only take about 15-20 minutes from start to finish. That is pretty fast for such a delicious dish.
Ingredients for this fish dish
We will need fish fillet, cornstarch, Shaoxing wine, ginger, scallions, chicken stock/water, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, ground white pepper, and sesame oil.
You can use any white fish with firm flesh. I am using swai/dory fillet in the photos, but I have prepared this dish with sole, flounder, halibut, red snapper, tilapia, and grouper. I usually choose the freshest available white fish when I do my shopping.
Step-by-step to cooking this fish dish
First, combine fish fillets with cornstarch and Shaoxing wine. Set aside.
Next, prepare the sauce by mixing chicken stock/water, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, cornstarch/tapioca starch, and ground white pepper. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Sauté ginger and scallions until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Reserve some scallions for garnish.
Add fish fillets and sauté until cooked halfway, about 30 seconds. Pour in the sauce and continue cooking until fish is fully cooked, about 1 minute.
Turn off the heat. Toss in reserved scallions and sesame oil, mix well. Transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately.
This ginger and scallions chicken stir-fry is one of the earliest recipes I learn from my Mom. It’s a simple dish since it only requires chicken and mushroom as its main ingredients. The rests are aromatics and sauces that should be very common in a typical Chinese or Asian pantry.
I think this is a very versatile dish that anyone should learn. Turn it into a meatless dish by simply replacing tofu for the chicken. Or if you prefer a seafood dish, you can use fish fillet or even shrimps.
Ingredients for a Chinese ginger and scallion stir-fry dish
1. Main ingredients
Choose your main ingredients for this dish. I am using chicken thigh meat and baby portobello mushrooms for this recipe, but you can use tofu, thinly sliced beef/pork, or even bite-size fish fillets or shrimps/prawns if you wish to replace the chicken.
Mom usually either use fresh/canned button mushroom or rehydrated dried shiitake mushrooms when I was just a little kid since that was all that was available in those days. I feel fortunate that we now how so many different mushroom varieties to choose from, so feel free to use whichever mushroom you wish.
We will need garlic, ginger, scallions, and red chilies. I use bird-eye chilies since I love the spicy kick it gives, but you can use cayenne or Fresno for a milder dish. You can also skip the chilies altogether, or use bell pepper for a kid-friendly dish.
The photo in this post shows the exact products I use for this recipe. I hope it can be a great help when you grocery shop for the ingredients. 🙂
1. Fry aromatics
Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat and sauté ginger, garlic, red chilies, and the white part of scallions. Stir for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
2. Cook chicken
Add bite-size chicken meat into the wok and cook until no longer pink.
3. Cook mushrooms and seasonings
Add mushrooms and all the sauce ingredients (light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, fish sauce, Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, salt, and pepper). Mix well, then cover the wok and cook for 3 minutes, or until the mushrooms wilt.
4. Add scallions
Remove the lid and adjust the amount of salt and pepper as necessary. Toss in the green part of scallions, then quickly turn off the heat.
5. Garnish and serve
Transfer the dish to a serving plate/bowl, garnish with chopped scallions and cilantro. Serve immediately with steamed white rice.
Other easy beginner friendly Chinese dishes to try
For other equally delicious and beginner-friendly Chinese recipes, who not give some of these recipes a try:
I grow up in a Cantonese family. Poached chicken and ginger scallion sauce is a dish that often appears on my family dining table.
The poached chicken in itself is arguably one of the blandest dishes there is. But poaching makes the meat very tender, and the immediate ice bath firms up the chicken and makes the skin crispy.
The ginger scallion sauce, on the other hand, has a strong flavor. The two complements each other, and they work beautifully together.
Arguably, you don’t need anything else to serve with the chicken other than the ginger scallion sauce. But for those who love a spicy kick, I highly suggest making a batch of garlic ginger chili sauce to serve with the poached chicken.
Ingredients for poached chicken
You can use any cut for the poached chicken, but my favorite choice is to use drumsticks. Traditionally, and especially for festive occasions, most prepare this dish with a whole chicken.
TIPS: If using a whole chicken, you will need to carve the chicken into bite-size pieces before serving. Make sure to choose a pot that can accommodate a whole chicken, and add enough water to cover the chicken during poaching.
Please avoid using boneless skinless chicken meat. Both the skin and the bone improves the flavor of the dish immensely.
Aside from chicken, we also need ginger, scallion, and salt for the poached chicken.
Ingredients for ginger scallion sauce
We need only four ingredients for the sauce: ginger, scallion, salt, and oil.
Although you can use any neutral flavored oil, I highly recommend using peanut oil for this. In a pinch, you can use canola oil or even vegetable oil.
I don’t recommend using olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil. The smoking point for extra virgin olive oil is lower than peanut oil, and it will make the sauce taste more raw compared to using peanut oil. Also, extra virgin olive oil has a distinct flavor that is very different than peanut oil.
How to cook Chinese poached chicken
Boil 4 cups of water with ginger and scallion in a pot. Lower chicken into the boiling pot and let it return to a boiling point. Reduce the heat to a bare simmer, cover the pot and continue simmering for 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let the chicken sit in the pot for an additional 15 minutes without opening the lid.
Remove chicken from the pot and place in a bowl of ice water for 5 minutes to stop the cooking process, firm up the meat, and make the chicken skin crispy.
Shred chicken into small pieces, toss with sesame oil, and arrange on a serving plate.
Serve the poached chicken with room temperature ginger and scallion sauce. You can also serve the chicken with garlic ginger chili sauce for some spicy kick.
How to prepare Chinese ginger scallion sauce
Mince ginger and scallions. Transfer ginger, scallion, and salt to a heat-proof bowl and mix. When you give this a quick taste, it should taste salty and not merely the taste of the right amount of salt.
Heat oil in a small pot until it starts to smoke. Pour hot oil over the ginger and scallions. Stir, then let the sauce cool to room temperature.
You can store the sauce in a clean glass jar in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.