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Wok-cooked Monkfish with Seasame Soy Sauce

Fish is traditionally eaten on Chinese New Year because the Mandarin word for fish is ‘Yu’ and during the festival there is a phrase called ‘Nian nian you yu’, which translates as ‘Every year you have abundance’ – whether it’s wealth, luck, happiness, good health or all of the above! In addition to the usual ‘Gong xi fa cai’ (wishing good fortune), this is a popular phrase.

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  • 3 tablespoons groundnut oil

  • 2 Monkfish fillets (about 320g/11½oz) or 2 cod fillets, washed, seasoned with salt and pepper, cut into 6 smaller fillet pieces

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped

  • 2.5cm/1 inch piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped

  • 1 medium red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

  • 4–5 tablespoons light soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

  • 2 spring onions, cut into thin strips

  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh coriander

  • steamed asparagus and broccoli florets, to serve


  • 1.

    Heat some groundnut oil in a large wok on a high heat. Add the fish to the wok (skin side down, if using cod), pressing lightly on each of the fillets as it cooks. Cook for 3–4 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium.

  • 2.

    Turn the fish over and sprinkle the garlic, ginger and chilli over the fillets. Cook for a further 3–4 minutes (depending on the size of the fillet) until the flesh has turned opaque and flakes when poked with a pair of chopsticks or a fork.

  • 3.

    Season with the soy sauce and sesame oil and spoon the sauce over the fish. Add the spring onion strips and chopped coriander and cook until the herbs have wilted slightly.

  • 4.

    To serve, garnish the fillets with the wilted herbs and serve immediately with scented rice or dressed whole wheat noodles and steamed vegetables.

  • 5.

    Tip: Cod is a great alternative to monkfish in this recipe, but keep the skin on and cook skin side down first until crisp and golden. Ensure when buying cod though it comes from sustainable sources.



  • To help vegetables cook in the wok, add a splash or two of water to help create some “steam” whilst stir frying.

  • Use msg free products where possible.

  • Groundnut oil can be substituted with vegetable oil, sunflower oil or corn oil.

  • A large number of dishes can be adapted to suit vegetarians. Look out for where you can substitute the meat for tofu or vegetables and use vegetarian sauces.

  • Use low sodium soy sauce where possible
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