Steamed Tilapia (Lan Je style)

This recipe relies heavily on the freshness of the tilapia fish. Pick the freshest black tilapia you can find at the market and you won’t regret it when you see your family asking for more rice. The signature sauce is really appetizing.


500 – 600 grams black tilapia, cleaned

1 tablespoon old ginger, sliced

2.5 litres water

1 stalk spring onion, coarsely chopped

2 stalks coriander leaves, coarsely chopped

Ingredients (B) the sauce

150 grams old ginger, coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

2 cili padi (bird’s eye chilli), de-seed and finely chopped

1/4 cup light soy sauce

1 teaspoon dark soy sauce

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1 tablespoon hua tiao wine

1 tablespoon oil

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 to 1 cup water (depending on how much liquid you want in your sauce)

  1. Stuff the ginger slices in the stomach of the tilapia and put some on its head. These are the areas that smell over-fishy.
  2. With medium heat on the pan, pour in the oil. When the oil heats up, add in the garlic and ginger. Saute for a minute. The smell of this combination is divine.
  3. On a separate bowl, mix the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce and hua tiao wine. Pour this mixture to the ginger on the pan and continue to stir with low heat for another minute. Add in half cup of water to give it a better stir. Add in sugar to taste because the sauce can be quite salty and pungent. Sugar is a good neutralizer. If you are all about healthy food, replace the normal castor sugar with brown sugar or unrefined sugar.
  4. Off the heat and add in the cili padi. Give it a quick stir and set the sauce aside.
  5. On a wok, boil 2.5 liters of water and when it starts to bubble, steam the tilapia for 15 minutes. 
  6. After 15 minutes, off the heat and remove the excess water on the plate and the ginger slices. Pour the signature sauce over the fish and serve with spring onion and coriander leaves as garnishing.

This dish is best served immediately from the wok to the dining table. Goes well with steamed rice.


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