Chinese Steamed Fish in Scallion Ginger Soy Sauce

A whole steamed fish was a common centerpiece at the dinner table during special occasions. The fish, usually tilapia, is bought live, carefully selected by my grandma from a reputable asian grocery store. She then puts the tilapia in a large bowl, carefully cleans the entire fish under water, and then soaks it in shaoshing rice cooking wine before steaming it to perfection.

Well in my house I’m taking the “live” and the “whole” fish part out of the equation, but I’m still using the same ginger scallion sauce (thanks grandma!).


Small sauce pan
Steaming rack stand
Large deep pot
Pot lid with a ventilation hole


Canola oil
4 scallions, sliced into large pieces
1 TB of minced ginger
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 fish stock (you can use Knorr instant fish broth)
Fresh tilapia or sea bass fillets, sliced in half if necessary

1) Add oil, ginger, and scallions to a small sauce pan. Cook on medium until fragrant and then pour in the soy sauce and fish stock. Taste the sauce – it should be on the saltier side because of the natural blandness of the fish. Add more soy sauce and salt as necessary.

2) Add water to the large pot and place the steaming rack stand in the middle. Place a large plate or bowl with curved sides onto the steaming rack. Arrange the fillets on the plate and then pour the scallion ginger sauce on the fillets.

3) Cover the pot with the lid and turn heat to high. Steam for about 5-7 minutes. Check every minute if needed to prevent overcooking the fish. The fish is done when it easily flakes when cut with a fork and the color is opaque.

Serve with rice!

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