Steamed Fish en Papillote


Gong Xi Fa Cai to those that celebrate Chinese New Year! This year is the year of Ox. The Ox is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Ox is the sign of prosperity through fortitude and hard work. This powerful sign is a born leader, being quite dependable and possessing an innate ability to achieve great things.

Are you interested to what does 2009 hold for you? The following is what I got off from this website. To know your animal sign, please click here.

People born in the year of OX:

People Born in the Year of the OX are stable, strong, dutiful, reliable, tenacious, practical, industrious, determined, honest, loyal, sincere, persevering and down to earth and tolerant. They can sometimes be lonely but they form firm bonds with home and family. The OX people cherish their private lives and are not usually very adventurous. They can be loners. They know the way to succeed is by a slow, steady, sustained effort. OX people are great traditionalists, they like the familiar.

If you were born in the year of the RAT:

This year is a stable year for family life and will be a joyful year. Career wise the rats will take on more responsibilities and will feel the pressure of the extra duties. A good year of steady progress.

If you were born in the year of the TIGER:

This is the year for keeping a low profile, tigers. Because of the slow pace of the OX year, it will be a frustrating time for you. You like things to be move quicker, you will need to show restraint.

If you were born in the year of the RABBIT:

The year of the OX is well suited to the rabbit nature. The slower pace of this year will see you spending more time with friends and family. A good year to upgrade your home, or for buying or selling a house.

If you were born in the year of the DRAGON:

In business and in romance your word for this year is integrity. Keep your head down and you will make steady progress this year. Established relationships will be comfortable and easy during this year of the OX. A slow but sure progress will be made.

If you were born in the year of the SNAKE:

A very good year for snakes! The steady pace of the OX year is well suited to the snake person. Act on an opportunity – this is your year.

If you were born in the year of the HORSE:

Although you are rearing to surge ahead, this is another year of caution for the horse. Not a good year to strike out in new directions, consolidate your positions instead. On the brighter side, love will bring comfort this year.

If you were born in the year of the SHEEP:

The Ox is the direct opposite of the sheep, therefore expect challenges in all areas this year. Keep a low profile.

If you were born in the year of the MONKEY:

This is a year of moderate progress for monkeys. Work will slow down this year allowing the monkey more personal time. It also allows for quality time with friends and family.

If you were born in the year of the ROOSTER:

Great opportunities for rooster this year. A good time to recoup losses. You will make great progress at work, reaping rewards of your labor. Emotional ties bring joy. Your prestige and reputation increase.

If you were born in the year of the DOG:

A year for dogs to keep a low profile. Put more attention into matters at home, spending quality time with loved ones. The simple pleasures will bring happiness this year.

If you were born in the year of the PIG:

A year for the pig to follow his/her instinct, laying foundations for the future. This is a bright and hopeful year for the pig. Do not take unnecessary risks though.

For this Chinese New Year, I want to share a steamed fish recipe. The word ‘fish’ – “Yu” (?) sounds like the word ? which means abundance. Serving a fish dish symbolizes a wish for abundance in the coming year. I made this slightly different by adopting French method – en papillote’ that means ‘in parchment’, but with Chinese ingredients.  So, I wish you an abundance year ahead!



Steamed Fish en Papillote

Yield: 2 persons


1 medium-sized white fleshed fish (such as sea bream, sea bass or red snapper)
2 spring onions
4 slices ginger, cut into matchsticks
1 red chilli, thinly sliced, cut into 5cm lengthwise
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
a pinch of white pepper


1. On both sides of fish, cut deep incisions across width at 3 cm intervals. Put the fish on a parchment paper. Rub oyster sauce and white pepper on both sides of fish. Then, add the soya sauce and sesame oil.

2. Add the spring onions, ginger, red chilli on top of the fish. Fold the paper in half lengthwise to close and roll the edges together to seal the packets.

3. Place fish in a steamer. Steam on a medium heat for about 10-15 minutes. Serve warm.