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This tom yum-style red hot steamed snapper will add colour and flavour to your spread for Lunar New Year. As fish is regarded as an auspicious food for the festivities, why not give this recipe a go?


  • 300 ml chicken stock or water
  • 100 g shallots, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 50 g galangal, sliced (reserve a slice for steaming the fish)
  • 1 lemongrass, use 12 cm from root, bruised
  • 1 red finger chilli, deseeded and julienned
  • 1 green finger chilli, deseeded and julienned
  • 12 kaffir lime leaves
  • 3 chilli padi, thinly sliced
  • 1 flat tbsp dried chilli paste
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 50 ml freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar
  • 1 locally farmed red snapper (800g)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 400 ml of water for steaming the fish.
  • 1 stalk coriander, sliced into 3-cm lengths

Start by preparing the tom yum-style sauce. In a saucepan, bring the 300 ml of chicken stock or water to a boil.


Put in the shallots, garlic, galangal and lemongrass and boil for 10 mins until the shallots are softened.


Add the red chilli and green chilli. Add eight kaffir lime leaves and the chilli padi. Add the dried chilli paste and stir.


Season with the fish sauce and light soy sauce.


Add the lime juice and palm sugar.


Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, cover and set aside.


Rinse and pat dry the fish. Rub the salt all over the fish and also inside the cavity of the fish. Insert one slice of galangal into the fish’s cavity.


Place fish in a heatproof dish. Place four kaffir lime leaves on the fish.


Fill a wok with 400 ml of water. Place a metal stand in the wok. Cover and bring the water to a boil. Place dish containing the fish in the wok.


Cover and steam for 12 mins.


Drain off any excess liquid collected in the dish that the fish was steamed in.


Reheat the tom yum-style sauce. Ladle the sauce over the fish. Garnish with coriander. Serve immediately.

ABOUT THE CHEF: Hedy Khoo is the columnist for The New Paper’s HED CHEF which features Asian cuisine and recipes. You can follow Hedy on her Instagram account @hedchefhedykhoo for more of her culinary adventures.

Text and recipe: Hedy Khoo / Photo: The New Paper

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