Mackerel is one of my favourite fish, so I’ll always try to pick up some from the fishmongers. It’s high in omega-3 and fatty acids plus tasty to boot.

Chinese mackerel & pickled mustard stew would be one of the dishes my parents would cook when I was growing up.  Sour, sweet with a little kick from the Birdseye chillies – last ingredient is my addition as parents don’t really do spicy food.

If you want to make a new fish dish, this is a great one to try out.

Chinese Mackerel & Pickled Mustard Stew

Serves: 2 ppl

Total time: Approx 20 mins

  • 1 large mackerel
  • 2cm knob of ginger
  • half a small onion
  • 2 Birdseye chillies (optional)
  • salt
  • ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 300g pickles sour mustard green
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree – 300ml water
  • 1.5 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • cornflour mix (2 tsp cornflour + 5 tsp water) you may not need to use it all

Start with slicing 2cm knob of ginger and then slice half an onion into think wedges. Slice 2 Birdseye chillies into small diagonal strips. Set the cut ginger, onions and chillies to the side.

In the kitchen sink, gut (see video in Useful Tips on how to do this), rinse and pat dry a whole mackerel.  

Transfer the cleaned fish to a chopping board. Remove head and cut mackerel into approx 4cm chunks. Place pieces of mackerel into a plate and add a little salt, ground pepper and mix. Cover and leave to the side.

In a wok heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil on a medium heat. When oil is hot, add mackerel to the wok. Fry the mackerel for a couple of minutes till the pieces are evenly browned all over.

Avoid turning the pieces of mackerel too often as the fish will fall apart. The mackerel doesn’t have to be cooked all the way through as you will be cooking it again later.

When browned all over, remove mackerel from wok and leave to the side.

Rinse and pat dry 300g pickled sour mustard – the pickled mustard is quite salty, rinsing it will remove some of the salt. Cut into approx 2 cm thick chunks and leave to the side.

Heat up remaining oil from frying the mackerel in the wok. When hot add sliced ginger and onions. Stir fry for a minute on medium heat.

Add chillies and stir fry for approx 15 seconds. Add the cut mackerel and pickled sour mustard. Add 1 tbsp tomato puree, 300ml water, 1.5 tbsp oyster sauce, 1 tsp sugar and mix well with a spatula. Cover and let cook for approx 5 minutes on a medium heat so all the flavours absorbs into the mackerel.

Stir a little to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the wok.

Add some of the cornflour mix and stir till liquid thickens.  As soon as the sauce thickens you can add more salt or sugar to taste but I don’t think you will need to add more.

Serve in a deep plate.

You can serve this mackerel dish with steamed rice and maybe with a simple vegetable dish. 

Top tip – you can replace the tomato puree with a whole tomato. If you do this you will need to cut the tomato into wedges and stir fry it the same time as the ginger and onion. You can replace the Birdseye chilli with a bit of chilli sauce.

(This dish takes about 20 minutes to make – includes prep time.) 

I hope you get a chance to make this lovely dish.