Cantonese Steamed Fish RecipeJump to Recipe
Using few ingredients that you can find around the house, this Cantonese Steamed Fish recipe can liven up any dinner table. Stuffed with fresh ginger and green onions, the whole fish is steamed until flaky, tender and juicy. Then it’s doused in soy sauce that compliments the natural flavour of the fish.
About Steamed Fish
Steamed fish is a traditional Cantonese dish that you will often find at the dinner table during Chinese New Year and other special occasions. If you order it at Chinese restaurants, it’s almost always served whole with the head and tail! Since steamed fish is usually enjoyed with many people, serving the fish whole is said to bring good fortune as it represents unity. In Chinese, the word for “fish” (鱼 yú) also sounds like the word for ‘surplus’ which makes this dish even luckier.
For more lucky foods, read the article “7 Lucky New Year’s Foods.”
Making It at Home
There’s no need to eat out to enjoy the dish. This steamed fish recipe is simple and easy to make! It uses simple ingredients that you may already have lying around the house.
Fresh ginger and green onion are the staples of Chinese cuisine and this recipe is no exception. Along with the soy sauce, they help bring out and enhance the natural flavour of the fish.
The traditional way to steam fish (or any food in Chinese cuisine) is with a wok, steaming rack, and lid, or a wok and a bamboo steamer. If you don’t have these at home, there’s no need to worry. You can simply use a large pot or deep skillet with a lid.
An important note for this recipe is to make sure you do not over-steam the fish. Over-steaming it can dry it out, making it rough and less enjoyable to eat. 10 minutes is the recommended time to cook fish that are around 2 pounds and 7 minutes for smaller fish. Depending on your stove this time can vary. If you need to steam it for longer, make sure to check the fish every 2 minutes.
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Cantonese Steamed Fish Recipe
- 1 white fish (~2 lbs)
- 3 stalks green onion
- 2 ½-inch piece ginger
- ¼ cup light soy sauce
- Scrape the outside of the fish with the back of a knife to remove the scales. Clean out the inside of the fish and then pour salt over the entire fish, including the inside. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Rinse the salt off with cold water and pat dry with paper towel. Set the fish aside in a dish. Make sure your dish can fit inside your wok or stockpot.
- Peel the ginger and finely chop into strands. Slice the green onion into strand lengths similar to the ginger.
- Place a few ginger and green onion slices inside the fish.
- Add more ginger and green onion slices on/under the fish (putting ginger under the fish can prevent sticking).
- Pour water into a wok or stockpot. Set a small shallow bowl or plate upside down in the center of the wok for the dish with the fish to sit on top of. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the fish.
- Bring the water to a boil and place the fish inside. Cover, and steam for 10 minutes (for fish that are less than 2 pounds, steam for 7 minutes).
- When the fish is ready, carefully remove the plate from the wok and pour off any accumulated liquid.
- Add some oil into a pan and stir-fry the remaining green onion and ginger with the soy sauce. Sautè for 1-2 minutes.
- Carefully drizzle the contents of the pan onto the fish. Add extra soy sauce if needed.
- Fish is ready to be served immediately!