6 servings
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This unique and interesting dish is actor Nick Shen’s vegetarian take on his grandma’s classic Teochew dish. 


  • 25 g dried seaweed (two sheets)
  • 2 blocks rectangular tofu (600 g each)
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 100 g dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked for 30 mins
  • 150 g oyster mushrooms
  • 2 to 3 pieces Shantou pickled plums (squashed)
  • 200 g salted vegetables
  • 6 red dates
  • 6 roasted almonds
  • 20 g ginger, sliced
  • 2 tbsps sesame oil
  • 2 tbsps light soya sauce
  • 6 tbsps vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsps store-bought soya bean crumbs
  • White pepper, to taste
  • 3 red chillies, thinly sliced
  • 10 g coriander, to garnish

Line a large plate with two sheets of dried seaweed.


Slice tofu blocks into half horizontally.


Slice two of the four slabs of tofu into half and then diagonally to get eight triangles of equal size. Set aside.


On the seaweed, arrange two remaining tofu rectangles next to each other to form the “fish body”. Stack two tofu triangles at the front as the “fishhead”.


Place one tofu triangle on each side of the ”body”. Place another tofu triangle to form the “tail”. The remaining tofu will not be needed.


At each side of the “body”, tuck sliced tomatoes and two dried Chinese mushrooms.


Cut 1/4 of a piece of dried mushroom and use scissors to cut out a circle. Use the edge of a knife to make a slight depression on the “head” of the fish and place the cut-out in it for the “eye”.


Cover the “body” with oyster mushrooms, pickled plums, salted vegetables, strips of the remaining dried mushrooms, red dates, almonds and 10 g of ginger slices.


Drizzle 1 tbsp of sesame oil and 1 tbsp of light soya sauce over the fish.


In a wok set over medium heat, bring some water to a boil and steam the “pomfret” for 10 mins.


In a pan set over medium heat, add 2 tbsps of vegetable oil and fry the remaining 10 g of sliced ginger till slightly brown for about 3 mins. Set aside on kitchen towel.


In the same pan, add 4 tbsps of vegetable oil and fry soya bean crumbs for 3 mins. Set aside on kitchen towel.


After the “pomfret” is steamed, drizzle 1 tbsp of light soya sauce and 1 tbsp of sesame oil on it. Add white pepper to taste.


Garnish with slices of fried ginger, red chilli and coriander.

Photo: Nivash Joyvin/ST

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