Steamed whole fish-Chinese style

    40 minutes

    A whole fish flavoured with ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil looks quite spectacular yet is easy to prepare.

    1 person made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 1 whole round fish, ready-gutted, such as bream or snapper, about 1 kg
    • salt (for rubbing)
    • 5cm piece fresh ginger
    • 4 spring onions
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
    • 1 small red chilli
    • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
    • To garnish: coriander sprigs

    Preparation:10min  ›  Cook:20min  ›  Extra time:10min marinating  ›  Ready in:40min 

    1. Clean and rinse the fish and pat dry with paper towels. Make three or four diagonal slashes down to the bone on each side of the fish and gently rub with salt, inside and out. Put aside for 10 minutes.
    2. Peel the ginger and cut into julienne strips, then trim the spring onions, cut into 7.5-cm lengths, slice them lengthways, then put aside. Stir the soy sauce and sesame oil together in a small bowl and put aside.
    3. Fill a steamer or wok with water to a level of 5–7.5cm and bring to the boil. If using a wok, place a trivet in the bottom.
    4. Rinse the salted fish under cold running water then dry with paper towels. Place on a heatproof plate and lower into the steamer basket or wok; do not let the plate touch the water. Cover, reduce the heat and steam gently for 15–20 minutes, or until the fish is cooked.
    5. While the fish is steaming, seed the chilli and cut into fine shreds. Heat the oil in a small frying pan and cook the chilli and ginger over high heat until softened.
    6. Transfer the fish to a warmed serving dish and sprinkle with the spring onions, ginger and chilli. Pour the soy sauce and sesame oil mixture over the top, garnish with coriander sprigs and serve immediately.


    White rice would go well with this dish and can be cooked while the fish is steaming. Asian noodles cook even faster and can be garnished with sesame seeds and some finely chopped red chilli. A side dish of crisp stir-fried vegetables can also be cooked while the fish is steaming.


    good source of vitamin B group, and calcium and iron.


    If you do not have a wok or steamer large enough to hold a whole fish, use a baking dish with a wire rack. Place the fish on its plate on the rack and cover the dish with foil, tucking it under the rim to keep the steam in.

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