Recipe for Nyonya Steamed Fish in 15 Minutes

Peranakan or Nyonya cuisine originates from the Peranakans, descendants of early Chinese wanderers who settled in Malacca, Penang, Indonesia, and Singapore, inter-marrying with local Malays. In Baba Malay, a female Peranakan is known as a nonya, and a male Peranakan is recognized as a baba.

Cooking Nyonya recipes is labor-extensive, involves careful preparation, and demands mingling various spices pounded into a particular texture. Peranakan cuisine evolved from the intermarriages of the local Malay traders and the Chinese. It is a perfect amalgamation of herbs used by the Indonesian or Malay community such as aromatic leaves, pungent roots, candle-nuts, shrimps paste, shallots, chilies, tamarind juice, and coconut milk. 

The fine selection of ingredients gives it a wow factor that makes you want to savor every mouthful.

If you are looking for quick, easy, and delightful Chinese-Malay fusion to satisfy your sour and spicy cravings, you might want to plan the recipe below. Don’t forget to lay your hand on this delicious recipe of the Straits Settlement.


  • 2 Tbsp. onion, shredded
  • 1 sea bass (about 600g), cleaned
  • 2 Tbsp. coriander leaves, chopped


  • 3 stalks lemongrass, chopped finely
  • 3 Tbsp. ginger flower, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. bird’s eye chilies
  • 6 Tbsp. squeezed lime juice


  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • dash of pepper

Time: 15 minutes.


  1. Mix all the seasonings and spices, pour over the polished sea bass. Lemon Grass, Ginger Flower, Bird’s Eye chilies and squeezed lime juice will add sweet and sour flavor to the fish.
  2. Rub sugar, fish sauce and pepper after adding all the spices. The seasoning will enhance the taste.
  3. Steam at high heat in a wok with boiling water for 10-12 minutes until the fish is cooked. Then transfer the fish from the wok.
  4. Sprinkle coriander leaves and shredded onion on top of the steamed fish and serve hot with fluffy rice.

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