Authentic Chinese Steamed Whole Fish
Updated: Apr 15
Steaming a whole fish is easier than you think! A steamed whole fish with ginger, scallions, soy sauce and cilantro is a treat at home and it is super easy to make. You’ll be amazed by how just a few ingredients bring out the fresh flavour of the fish. The ginger and green onions will take away any fishiness in the fish. You won’t bother ordering this at the restaurant any more.
The Secrets to making a delicious Steamed Fish:
Fresh fish – alive and swimming, but I have made it from fish that was fresh and dead – and it tasted fine. Make sure the eyes are clear and scales are metallic.
Smaller fish – Select a fish that is around a pound to maximum a pound and a half. Bigger fish have a tougher texture
It goes without saying, do not overcook – 8 minutes for the first pound, and 2 minutes for each additional 1/2 pound
Medium heat – Steam the fish delicately at medium heat rather than high heat.
Discard the cloudy fishy water after steaming, as well as the cooked herbs – ginger and scallions.
Season correctly – add the hot oil before adding the seasoned soy sauce
How to prepare the fish?
To be honest, I didn’t bother preparing the fish myself. I had the fishmonger at T&T Supermarket gut and clean the fish for me and place it nicely in a bag. All I had to do was rinse it under cold water and dry it before steaming.
Chinese Steamed Crab with Scallions and Ginger
Makes 1 Fish
Ingredients 1.5 to 2lb Fresh Live Fish
3" piece Ginger, julienned
1" piece Ginger, sliced into coins
3 Scallions, (cut into 2-inch pieces - separate white part and green)
8 sprigs cilantro
2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil 1 tablespoon water 1 tablespoon sugar ¼ cup light soy sauce or seasoned soy sauce
1. Prepare the steamer to steam on high heat.
2. Clean the fish under cold water.
3. Place the fish on a steam-proof oblong plate.
4. Add the coin sliced ginger inside the fish as well as the white part of the scallion.
5. Place the plate into the steamer to steam for 8 to 12 minutes depending on the size of the fish. Or until internal temperature is 145°F, or until the fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
6. While the fish is cooking, prepare the sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a saucepan until hot. Add the julienned ginger and half the green scallions. Stir for about a minute, and then add the soy sauce, water, and sugar. Heat the mixture until the bubbles.
7. When the fish is done, turn off the heat. Carefully drain away the accumulated liquid off the plate and then discard the ginger coins and white part of the scallions. Then spread the remaining green scallions and cilantro over the fish. Cover to steam with the residual heat for a minute.
8. In a clean saucepan, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil until it is super hot.
9. Spoon the soy sauce mixture evenly over the fish, and then pour over the super hot oil, this will sizzle over the fish. Serve!
Anything smaller than 1lb is too small. Ideally 1.5 to 2lbs.