Daily Cooking Quest

Chinese Pan Fried Fish with Soy Sauce

Chinese restaurant style pan-fried fish fillet with soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and scallion. Use any firm flesh white fish fillet. With tips for succesfully pan frying fish fillet.

Pan-fried fish with soy sauce is one of the most classic Chinese recipe to enjoy white fish. Chinese restaurants love to serve their fish whole, and only sometimes thinly sliced, or in fillet form. This recipe with fish fillet is the easiest and most straightforward, and you can have a really nice fish dish for lunch/dinner in 30 minutes, including prep time. ♥

Ingredients for Chinese Pan-Fried Fish with Soy Sauce.

Choosing your white fish fillet

Since I am aiming for a simple and easy recipe, let’s stick with fish fillet. Some of my favorite fish include red snapper, rock fish, swai, cod, grouper, halibut, and tilapia. Basically, any white fish fillet with firm flesh is suitable for this recipe. Most fish fillets don’t come with skin, but the ones with skin are actually going to be better since pan frying will turn the skin really crispy and crunchy, giving a nice texture contrast to the flesh of fish.

Chinese Pan-Fried Fish with Soy Sauce.

Preparing your fish fillet for pan frying

The technique to prepare and pan fry a fish fillet is the same regardless of the fish of choice. These are the steps I follow:

  1. Pat dry each fish fillet with paper towel.
  2. Sprinkle each side of the fish fillet with salt and pepper.
  3. Dust each fish fillet with corn starch. If you don’t have corn starch and you are not aiming for a gluten-free dish, you can also simply dust the fish fillet with all-purpose flour.

Once you do all the steps above, your fish fillet are ready to be cooked and you can proceed with the rest of the recipe.

Chinese Pan-Fried Fish with Soy Sauce.

Originally published on September 16, 2013. Updated on February 25, 2019 with new photos.

Chinese Pan Fried Fish with Soy Sauce

4.9 from 14 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 15 mins

Total Time: 30 mins

Serves: 2


  • 250 gram firm white fish fillet, such as red snapper, grouper, rock fish, etc.
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of ground pepper
  • corn starch, to dust the fish
  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, cut into small pieces (or roughly minced)
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 scallions, sliced diagonally
  • Sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce (*)
  • 2 teaspoon sugar


  1. Pat dry the fish, scatter a pinch of salt and ground pepper on the fish. Dust with corn starch to coat the fish so it won't stick when fried on the pan, set aside.
  2. Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a frying pan on high heat and stir fry garlic, ginger, and scallion until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, fry the fish for 5 minutes each side. Only flip the fish once at the end of 5 minutes, otherwise, the fish will stick to the pan. Set the fish on a serving plate.
  5. Turn the heat to medium and pour the sauce to the pan. Wait until it bubbles a bit, then return the garlic, ginger, and scallion into the sauce. Cook for a minutes. Pour the sauce onto the fish. Serve immediately with steamed white rice.


  • (*) You can also use regular soy sauce if you don't have light soy sauce. If you must, you can also use dark soy sauce but do add salt to suit your taste since dark soy sauce is less salty compared to light soy sauce or regular soy sauce.


  • Puni says:


  • Chris says:

    Beautiful pictures there. Will be cooking this! Thanks for the recipe, Anita :)

    • Anita says:

      Thanks Chris. I hope you will like this one as well :)

  • Daniekray says:

    I love this recipe, it'll be my second time using it.....thank you Anita......much love and thanks from my picky family ,lol..

  • Daniel ray says:

    Oops its Daniel ray,,,sorry

    • Anita says:

      I am happy you and your family love the recipe :)

  • teo ai li says:

    Hi, may I know do you use light soya sauce or dark soya sauce? Thanks!

    • Anita says:

      I use either regular soy sauce or light soy sauce, but not dark soy sauce.

  • Nes says:

    Can I use kembung fish for this sis? Is that ok?

    • Anita says:

      Hm.... I am not so sure, usually I use red snapper/rock fish/tilapia.

  • Himanshu says:

    Hi, Can we make this recipe using Basa fillets

    • Anita says:

      I think basa would also be a good choice :)

  • Swen Nater says:

    Made this last night. Very good. Very good. Suggestion: Fry in two batches. Fish will brown better. Suggestion: Make twice the sauce; it's not enough. Suggestion: Salt fish immediately after frying. Use a wok. Keeper.

  • Max says:

    Can I use dark soy sauce?

    • Anita says:

      Yes, but Chinese dark soy sauce is generally less salty, so you may want to adjust by adding a bit of salt to taste. If you have regular soy sauce like Kikkoman, you can also use that. :)

  • Jane K says:

    Ive tried this recipe today and have received great feedbacks from my guests! thanks !

    • Anita says:

      Thanks for the feedback Jane. I am glad your guests love this dish. :)

  • Christine says:

    How do you make the sauce without Soy sauce? Do you add other liquid. I've eaten it where the sauce is clear and wondered how that was made. Can you tell me?

    • Anita says:

      Hi Christine, the sauce has light soy sauce in it. Plus, I have also written in the recipe that you can use regular soy sauce if you don't have light soy sauce at home.

  • Tisha says:

    This looks absolutely amazing! We usually fry fish on the grill will have to try it in the pan!

    • Anita says:

      I love grilled fish too, especially when the weather is nice like summer. :) For a colder time like now (winter-spring transition), it's more convenient to just do some pan frying.

  • Natalie Levin says:

    I love Chinese fried fish! Looks so delicious and I love how easy it is to make!

  • Dannii says:

    That looks so lovely and light. I really need to start cooking more Chinese meals at home.

    • Anita says:

      Thank you, Dannii. I hope this recipe will inspire you to prepare more Chinese dishes.

  • Noelle says:

    Love the chinese inspiration to this recipe, soy sauce is my favor flavor! Thanks for the share :)

  • Adrianne says:

    I love eating seafood and this seems like a simple and easy recipe, thanks for sharing, I can't wait to give this a go! Cheers

    • Anita says:

      We are a family of seafood lovers too. And since I am the one who does all the cooking in my home, it's a bonus since seafood usually is a snap to prepare. :D

  • Ceciel says:

    Thank you for the recipe! it was delicious and simple to make. I will definitely make it again and again.

    • Anita says:

      I am super happy you love this recipe Ceciel. This is definitely one of the most requested recipe at home, and I make this weekly for my family. :)

  • Darnell Tuason says:

    Thank You so much! A big help to me since I recently switched to pescetarian diet. Cheers 😃

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