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cantonese steamed fish
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5 from 7 votes

Steamed Fish, the Chinese Way (清蒸鱼)

A fresh whole fish steamed to a tender texture, seasoned with a delicious dressing, Chinese steamed fish requires little cooking skill but tastes incredible.
Prep Time3 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time13 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Authentic, Cantonese, Qing Zheng Yu
Servings: 2
Calories: 363kcal
Author: Wei Guo


  • 1 whole fish, gutted and descaled about 400g/14oz, see note 1
  • 2 stalk scallions, julienned
  • 1 small piece ginger, julienned
  • tablespoon cooking oil sunflower, vegetable, peanut, etc.
  • 1 dried chili, julienned
  • 1 pinch whole Sichuan peppercorn
  • 3 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine see note 2
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 pinch ground white pepper


  • Wash the fish thoroughly then pat dry with kitchen paper. Cut the fish at a 45-degree angle several times on each side. Lay it onto a plate that fits in the wok/pot which you’ll use to steam.
  • Put ⅓ of the scallions and ginger into the cavity of the fish. Scatter the rest under and over the fish.
  • Place a steamer rack (or a small bowl) in the middle of a wok. Add water to the pot (lower than the rack/bowl) and bring it to a full boil.
  • Put the fish plate on top of the rack (bowl). Cover the wok with a lid. Steam over high heat for 8 minutes (add 2 more minutes if your fish is larger).
  • Take out the plate (use oven gloves to avoid burning). Carefully remove the cloudy liquid. 
  • Heat up oil, dried chili and Sichuan pepper in a small pan over low heat. As soon as the oil starts to smoke, pour it over the fish (you may either pour the spices onto the fish or discard them).
  • Add light soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine, sugar and white pepper to the same pan. Heat up until it bubbles. Pour over the fish.
  • Serve immediately with plain rice (Don’t forget to dip the flesh into the sauce for best flavour).


1. I used sea bream for shooting this recipe. You may use other varieties of fish, such as sea bass, grass carp, perch, grouper, catfish, flounder, etc.
2. For this recipe, Shaoxing rice wine can be replaced with dry sherry, sake or white wine. You may skip it if you wish to make the dish alcohol-free.
3. If your serving plate is too big to fit in the wok/pot, you may cut the fish in halves at a steep diagonal angle then place onto a smaller plate for steaming. Arrange the fish back to its original shape in the serving plate before you pour in the oil and sauce. 


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 363kcal