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4.96 from 24 votes

Sichuan boiled fish (Shui Zhu Yu, 水煮鱼)

Tendre fish fillet poached in seasoned water, then topped with spices, Sichuan boiled fish is tasty, pungent and super addictive.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Fish
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 512kcal
Author: Wei Guo


For the fish

  • 250 g skinless, boneless fish fillet 9oz (see note 1)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch

For the spices

For the vegetable

  • 1 teaspoon cooking oil
  • 250 g celery, cut into thin strips or bean sprouts

For the broth

  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 clove garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger minced
  • 1 stalk scallions chopped
  • 1.5 tablespoon Sichuan chilli bean paste see note 3
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 400 ml hot water or chicken stock

For garnishing

  • Coriander chopped
  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil


Marinate the fish

  • Slice the fish fillet diagonally. Marinate with salt, white pepper, rice wine & corn starch.

Fry the spices

  • In a wok (or a deep frying pan), fry dried chilli and Sichuan pepper in oil over a low heat until fragrant (do not burn them). Chop coarsely when cooled. Set aside.

Cook the vegetable

  • In the same wok, heat up oil over a medium heat, stir in celery. Cook for 1.5 minutes or so (30 seconds if using bean sprouts instead). Transfer to a serving bowl. Set aside.

Make the broth

  • Heat up oil in the wok, fry garlic, ginger and spring onion. Add Sichuan chilli bean paste and chilli powder. Pour in water (or chicken stock). Bring it to a full boil.

Cook the fish

  • Gently place the fish slices into the wok. When cooked, pour the fish and the soup onto the vegetable.


  • Top with fried spices and coriander. Heat up oil then pour over to sizzle the spices. Serve immediately with plain rice.


1. You may use catfish, cod, sea bass, pangasius, etc.
2. I use two different types of Sichuan peppercorn in this dish: the red, regular Sichuan pepper and green ones. Please feel free to use whatever is available to you.
3. Different brands of Sichuan chilli bean paste (aka spicy Doubanjiang/辣豆瓣酱) may vary in saltiness, hotness and texture. Adjust the volume accordingly. Best to use Pixian Douban (郫县豆瓣), a well-known variety, which needs to be coarsely chopped prior to cooking.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 512kcal