I love whole steamed fish. Growing up in a filipino household meant we ate fish often in many different ways but this was my favorite way to eat it. Yes, it can be a bit messy if you aren’t accustomed to eating fish with bones but you won’t be sorry.
I was having lunch at a local Chinese restaurant that serves this dish from fresh fish from the tank in the restaurant. If you’ve ever seen these, you know it does not necessarily entice one to eat the fish swimming in a cloudy, small tank. That led me to the decision to simply make it at home.
Below is a basic version of the Cantonese-style steamed fish similar to the way my mother would make it. If you want to spice it up a bit, I suggest you chop up a few red, Thai chilis or your favorite sambal and add to the sauce for an extra kick. Want a little extra texture? Chop and toast some walnuts and sprinkle over the finished dish.
- 1 whole, FRESH Striped Bass, Gold Spot Bass or whatever is local (I get all my fish from Catalina Offshore Products)
- white pepper
- fresh ginger, finely julienned – About as much as the width of your thumb, 2″ – 3″ long, and 3 large chunks
- 6 green onions, use 4 to finely julienne the green & white parts. Keep separate. Roughly chop the other 2 green onions into sections
- 1 handful of fresh, roughly chopped, cilantro
- ¼ cup of sesame oil
- ¼ cup water
- 1¼ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ cup light soy sauce
- Prep all your ingredients.
- Rinse your fresh fish under cold water, pat dry.
- Insert a quarter of the fresh cilantro, green onion slices and greens and a few thick ginger chunks into the cavity of the fish.
- Prepare your steamer. I brought two cups of water to boil in the bottom of my pot, placed the steamer insert inside and covered.
- Arrange the chunks of ginger and roughly chopped green onions onto a plate that will fit into your steamer. Lay your fish on top of the ginger and green onions so that the steam can venture un der your fish too.
- Sprinkle another quarter of your cilantro, green onions and ginger slices on top of the fish.
- Remove the lid of the steamer and put the plate into the steamer and cover immediately.
- Cook the fish for 15 minutes and check to see if it is opaque in color. If it is NOT done, then continue to cook the fish in 3 minute increments and check again.
- Lift the plate slightly, allowing the juices and excess waters to drain off the plate.
- Once done, push the wilted greens off the fish and distribute the cilantro and green onions over the fish. At this time, you can carefully move the fish to a serving platter if you like but BE CAREFUL. The fish can easily fall apart once cooked.
- Quickly simmer the water, sugar and light soy. Pour over the fish.
- Heat the sesame oil and remaining ginger over medium heat. Once the ginger is slightly fried and the oil is sizzling, immediately pour on top of the fish. You will hear the skin crackle.
- Serve RIGHT AWAY.
VOILA! It is done and you have a beautiful whole fish dish that is easy and will impress anyone! 😉
If you decide to do this dish, we’d love the see your version. Tag us from your FB Cur8eur ONLINE or IG @cur8eur.