Steamed Snapper in Paper with Soy, Ginger and Garlic

Steamed Snapper in Paper with Soy, Ginger and Garlic

Serves 4

Preparing seafood for large groups of people requires much practice and patience. You’ve got to make sure that you have a large enough pan to cook it all and you’ve got to do it quickly so as not to overcook the fish. There’s a great trick I learnt about cooking fish from my food idol Jamie Oliver*. His trick was to take a square of aluminium foil and lay over it a slightly-smaller sheet of baking paper. Lay your fish on top, garnish with flavourings and wrap it all up into a bag. The bag can be placed into a preheated oven and in ten minutes you have a delicious lunch or dinner in moments. Cooking for a crowd becomes a breeze because the parcels can be prepared in advanced and cooked without fuss. I want to share with you a simple Chinese inspired recipe that can be whipped up in a flash. Please try to buy line-caught fish which is the sustainable, environmentally friendly option. And by no means is this recipe the be all and end all. If you want to add a bit of onion here or a touch of parsely you are more than welcome to. I’d love to see your recreations of this so post up a photo at (grapeshot facebook page/website). Keep Smiling and Happy Cooking!


4 tbspns soy sauce

4 tbspns oyster sauce

5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into matchsticks

2 cloves of garlic crushed

1/2 cup fresh coriander, chopped

4 line-caught Snapper fillets

Steamed vegetables and cooked jasmine rice to serve

You will need:

Medium bowl


4 large squares of aluminium foil

4 (slightly smaller) squares of baking paper

Chef’s knife

Chopping board


You want to begin by preparing the sauce for your fish. Combine the soy and oyster sauces, ginger, garlic and coriander in a medium bowl.

On your kitchen bench lay a sheet of foil shiny-side down. Place a piece of baking paper on top, making sure that it is in the centre. Onto this goes a fillet of snapper. Carefully dress the snapper with a quarter of the soy mixture.

Fold the foil around the fillet so that it forms an envelope. Then scrunch the edges to seal your package, making sure that no liquid can escape. This bag can be stored in the fridge for up to a day if you will be eating the fish later. Repeat this process for the remaining three pieces of fish. Otherwise continue to the next step.

Once ready to eat preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Place the bags onto an oven tray and cook for approximately ten minutes. Remove the bags from the oven, open them, and place the fish fillets on four plates. Pour the sauce over the fillets and serve with steamed vegetables and rice.

By Brendon D’Souza a.k.a. The Smiling Chef

*To be fair, the technique of cooking in a bag hails from classic French cookery and is called En Papillote.

This article was published first in Grapeshot Magazine at


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