Steamed whole fish – Chinese style

steamed whole fish recipe

This recipe is incredibly simple. It involves no technique, but it can take a couple of tries to master the timing.

The only tricky part is finding a dish that fits your fish and also fits your steamer. The dish needs to be deep, as the steamed fish will release juices. If the fish is too big, cut it in half and it will fit into a round dish.

Great fresh and locally available fish to try are snapper and barramundi.


  • One whole fish 700-800gm (cleaned and gutted)
  • 4cm ginger – peeled and sliced into fine batons
  • 2 scallions spring onion – cut into fine batons
  • Coriander – small handful chopped
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil


  1. Using the back of a knife, check that all the scales have been removed. Cut off the dorsal and side fins (tail and head too, if desired). Make sure the fish has been completely gutted.
  2. Rinse the fish and pat dry with a paper towel
  3. Place the fish in your serving dish and steam for 8 minutes
  4. Uncover the fish and carefully remove from heat
  5. Pour off the fish broth to save**
  6. Cover the fish with garnishes (ginger, spring onion and coriander)
  7. Heat the oil in a pan till bubbling and pour over the fish
  8. Pour over with soy sauce
  9. Serve with a spoon to be shared at the table

**The fish broth is incredibly nutritious. We usually drink it at the table, but it can also be reserved for soups, stews etc…

Recipe by:

Dr Christine Lee

Acupuncturist & Chinese Herbalist

Dr Christine Lee has been practising as an acupuncturist and a Chinese herbalist since 2008. She graduated RMIT with a double degree in Applied Science (Chinese Medicine and Human Biology) and has completed further studies and a hospital internship in Nanjing, China.

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