Black Bean Garlic Threadfin Two Ways
  |  First Published: December 2011

The following recipes are two versions of threadfin with black bean garlic sauce.

Both recipes have very Asian flavours with the addition of quintessentially Asian ingredients such as sesame oil, fish sauce, ginger and the hero of these recipes: black bean garlic sauce. If you wish you can also use barramundi instead of threadfin.

Version 1

There is a double hit of garlic in this recipe. First from the fresh crushed garlic, then again from the black bean garlic sauce.


1kg threadfin (or barra) fillets, cut into pieces

1/2 cup plain flour

a good pinch of salt

2 tbsp plus 2 tsp canola oil

1 clove garlic, sliced thickly

6 tbsp Lee Kam Kee Black Bean Garlic sauce

4 green shallots, cut into 1/2cm lengths

2 tbsp Obento Rice Wine Vinegar

2 tbsp water


Pour the flour and salt into a resealable plastic bag and add the fillet pieces. Seal the bag and shake well to lightly coat the fish with the flour.

Heat the two tablespoons of canola oil in a wok or frypan. Add the garlic to the pan and stir fry for a minute or two until the garlic becomes fragrant.

Remove the garlic slices from the pan and discard. If you leave the garlic in the pan while you sauté the fish, the garlic could become burnt and will taste bitter. By sautéing the garlic in the oil, the garlic flavour is infused in the cooking oil without the risk of generating a burnt garlic flavour.

Sauté the threadfin pieces in the hot garlic infused oil on both sides until the fish pieces are just cooked.

While the fish is cooking, in a small saucepan, combine the 2 teaspoons canola oil, black bean garlic sauce, sliced shallots, rice wine vinegar and water and bring to a simmer.

To serve, remove the sautéed threadfin from the wok (or frypan) and drain on some paper towels. Now place the fillets onto a serving platter and generously pour the hot black bean garlic sauce mixture over the fish. Turn the fish to coat both sides.

Version 2

In this recipe, if you really like ginger, you can tweak up the amount of ginger used in the ingredients. The amount that I have suggested will give you a subtle hint of ginger only.


1kg threadfin fillets, cut into pieces

2 tbsp cornflour

4 tbsp canola oil

1 tsp ginger paste

1 onion, peeled and cut into quarters

1/2 tsp CJ Gochujang Hot Pepper Paste

4 tbsp Lee Kam Kee Black Bean Garlic sauce

1/2 tsp squid fish sauce

1 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp Yeos sesame oil

3 green shallots, sliced into 1/2cm lengths

additional 1/2 tbsp cornflour, mixed to a paste with 1/4 cup water (optional)


Place the fish pieces into a sealable plastic bag, add the two tablespoons of cornflour, seal the bag and shake to coat the threadfin lightly with the cornflour.

Heat the canola oil in a wok or frypan. Add the ginger, quartered onion, hot pepper paste and stir fry until the onion has softened slightly and the ginger and chilli are aromatic.

Add the cornflour coated fish pieces to the wok (or frypan) and tumble gently to coat with the ginger/chilli mixture.

Now add the black bean garlic sauce, fish sauce, sugar and sesame oil to the wok (or frypan) and stir fry, gently, until the fish is cooked through. The cooking time, as always, will be dependent on the thickness of the fish. 

To stir fry the fillet pieces, use a rubber spatula and gently turn the fish in the sauce until cooked. This will help alleviate the fish from breaking up. Add the sliced green shallots to the wok (or frypan) and give a quick tumble to coat with the sauce.

If you prefer a thicker sauce you could now add some of the cornflour/water paste to thicken the sauce to your liking.

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