This Chinese Steamed Fish with Soy Sesame Sauce is a classic dish that’s traditionally made using a whole fish. Here, I use fish filet which makes this recipe an easy preparation for dinnertime.
There are so many different cooking techniques in Chinese cuisine that I find fascinating. Most people are familiar with stir-frying when it comes to Chinese cooking, but I find many are not familiar with steaming and poaching in Chinese cuisine. There’s also the velveting technique that ensures the most tender chicken and fish.
The Chinese have many different ways to prepare fish, but one of the simplest and most delicious preparations is the recipe I’m sharing today for Chinese Steamed Fish with Soy Sesame Sauce. The most important thing is to use the freshest fish you can find because no matter how good a cooking technique is, nothing can cover up the smell of fish that’s past its prime.
The only piece of equipment you’ll need to make this fish is a steamer basket or a steamer set. When I use my steamer set, I place the fish on a plate, but when I use the steamer basket, I line the basket with napa cabbage or some other leafy vegetable. The best part is you can eat the veggies as part of your meal. Steaming time depends on the type of fish you use and the thickness. Here, I’ve used halibut, but tilapia, flounder, sea bass, red snapper, or barramundi would be great too.
The trick to this recipe is in the final sauce. A drizzle of soy sauce and some fresh scallions are laid on top of the steamed fish, and hot sesame oil is poured on top. The sesame oil sizzles as you do this, so be sure to do this in the sink to avoid splattering. The end result is a fragrant sauce that just barely cooks the scallion and brings out the flavor in the fish.
Watch my cooking video to see how easy this Chinese Steamed Fish is to make.
- 4 ounces halibut filet or other fish filet (try tilapia, cod, barramundi)
- 1 teaspoon rice wine, white wine or sherry
- dash of salt
- 1 slice ginger, minced
- 1 scallion, cut into 1½" lengths
- 1 teaspoon gluten-free soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- Sprinkle rice wine over fish; sprinkle with salt. Place minced ginger and a few pieces of scallion on top. Steam for about 10-15 minutes, or until just tender. Steaming time will depend on thickness of fish.
- When fish is just about done, heat sesame oil in small skillet until hot.
- Remove fish from steamer and remove ginger and scallion on top. Sprinkle soy sauce on top of fish and lay a few more pieces of scallion on top of fish. Pour hot sesame oil on top of fish (I do this in the sink in case of splattering).