Aromatic Five-Spice Trout


Fresh trout makes an elegant centrepiece for lunch or dinner. With its clean and delicate taste and texture, it is a foundation course in any meal, a light and wholesome treat. All that it needs is a touch of seasoning to complement its own unique flavour. Here I have dusted it with aromatic five-spice powder, the subtle flavours of which enhance the special qualities of trout.

This is an easy dish to put together; it browns quickly and perfectly in the wok.


  • 4 small trout, cleaned
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour or cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 3 tablespoons groundnut oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh root ginger
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped spring onions
  • 1 lemon, quartered

For the Garnish

  • Fresh sprigs of coriander


Blot the trout dry inside and out with kitchen paper. Combine the potato flour or cornflour with the salt and five-spice powder. Dust the trout on the outside thoroughly with this mixture.

Heat a wok or large frying-pan over a high heat until it is hot. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, turn the heat down to medium and pan-fry the trout. You may have to do this in two batches, depending on the size of your wok or pan. When the fish is brown and crispy, turn it over and pan-fry the other side for about 4 minutes. When the fish is cooked, transfer it to a warm platter.

Re-heat the wok with the remaining oil. When it is hot, add the garlic, ginger and spring onions and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Pour this mixture on top of the trout, arrange the lemon wedges on the platter and garnish with coriander. Serve at once.