Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Steamed Fish Cantonese-Style

Steaming is said to bring out the freshness of the ingredients – the fresher, the better for steaming.

Though live fish is great for steaming, I normally get fish that’s hibernating on ice or chilling out in the refrigerator!

When I was a kid, I would follow mom to the wet markets. I saw and I heard the process of choosing fish/meat/veg but it never got registered in my memory bank. When I had to do it myself, that’s when the trial and error started. Lots of errors and still learning.. Nowadays, when I do accompany mom to the wet markets and I am all ears!

Steaming fish can be a tricky process. Too short a time and it'll under cook and if its too long, the fish texture will taste harsh like sandpaper! If you are using frozen fish, do defrost till room temperature, otherwise, you'll have a rubbery textured fish!


300g Whole Fresh Fish or Fillet
1 tsp Shaoxing Wine
2 tbp Cooking Oil
2 tsp Sesame Oil
2 tsp Light Soy Sauce
1 pcs Ginger about 2”, julienned
2 stalks Scallions, julienned
½ pcs Red Chili, julienned

1. Use a steamer or if using wok, put steamer and fill wok with about 2”-3” water. Bring to boil.
2. Place ½ of cut ginger onto plate.
3. Rub wine onto flesh of fish and lay in heatproof plate.
4. Place plate onto steamer. Cover with lid.
5. Steam for about 10-12 minutes.
6. When fish is about ready, separately, heat Cooking Oil and add Sesame Oil.
7. When fish is ready, add the remaining Ginger, Chili and Scallion on top of fish. Pour over with the heated oils.
8. Add Light Soy Sauce over and serve.


  1. Steamed fish is always my favourite. Just too often I steamed it too long. It's still a skill I need to learned. Your steamed fish here looks so delicious.....so good with just plain rice.

  2. Hi Mary, I like it with rice too and well, I actually have a tendency to undercook.

  3. That steamed fish sure looks delicious. Just out of the steamer, hot, superb with plain rice.

  4. ooooh i love steamed fish! actually love stuffing a bit of garlic in mine just to add the extra bite :)

    in thailand, they replace soy sauce with fish sauce and lemon juice- hot and sour as how the thais like it.

    one sad thing is i have no access to fresh seafood. safeway-bought fish cannot be steamed. gets either mushy or just not fresh enough :(

  5. I love steamed fish this way! It's so delicate and bring out the freshness of the fish. Your photos are gorgeous. Love your blog :)

  6. Cheah: Thank You.

    fionaeats: I enjoy the Thai version too.

    Ellie: Thank You.

  7. Right here Down Under, we hardly see whole fish served in restaurants unless you go to Chinese restaurants. I can't wait to go back Malaysia and overindulge myself in this simple dish1 Thank you for sharing!!! Makes me want them more!