Stuffed red-cooked trout

Stuffed red-cooked trout

The Real Food of China
Leanne Kitchen

Red cooking is usually reserved for pork or other meats, but oily river trout stands up well to the robust flavours of this ingredient combination, especially when said fish are stuffed to the gills with our favourite meat — pork. The sauce here is a simplified version of hong shao (red cooked), which calls for either caramelised sugar or bean paste as a starting point. Soy sauce, shaoxing wine and ginger are also used in the mix, as well as other aromatics such as five-spice, cassia, fennel and black cardamom. This dish is unashamedly rich and delicious.


Quantity Ingredient
2 whole baby trout
2 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil


Quantity Ingredient
125g minced pork
50g raw prawn meat, chopped
2 tablespoons tinned water chestnuts, chopped
2 spring onions, trimmed
2 teaspoons ginger, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Red-cooking mixture

Quantity Ingredient
6 thin slices ginger, unpeeled
185g Chicken stock
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
60ml shaoxing rice wine
large pinch five-spice
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar


  1. To make the stuffing, combine the pork, prawn meat and water chestnuts in a bowl. Finely chop the white part of the spring onions and add them to the bowl, reserving the green stems. Mix in the ginger, garlic and soy sauce and season with sea salt and pepper. Divide the mixture between the fish cavities, spreading it evenly. Tie each fish securely at 3 cm intervals with kitchen string. Using paper towel, thoroughly dry the skin of each fish.
  2. Heat the oil in a large wok over a medium–high heat, then add the fish and cook for 1 minute on each side. Remove from the wok.
  3. To make the red-cooking mixture, put the reserved spring onion stems and the ginger in the wok and stir to combine. Return the fish to the wok, then add the stock, soy sauces, rice wine, five-spice and sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium–low, cover the wok and cook the fish for 10 minutes on each side, or until the fish and the stuffing are cooked through. Remove the strings from the fish, then place the fish on a platter. Spoon some of the cooking liquid over the fish, discarding the ginger and spring onion stems.
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