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Chinese Steamed Fish: A Delicious and Healthy Dish

If you're looking for a healthy and delicious way to enjoy fish, look no further than Chinese steamed fish.

This cooking method is not only simple and easy, but it also helps to retain the nutrients and natural flavours of the fish.

Whether you're a seasoned cook or a beginner, steaming fish is a great way to add variety to your meals and impress your guests.

A whole fish steaming in a bamboo steamer, surrounded by slices of ginger, green onions, and drizzled with soy sauce

To prepare Chinese steamed fish, you'll need a few essential ingredients such as fresh ginger, garlic, and soy sauce.

The type of fish you choose is also important, as it should be a firm and meaty fish that can hold its shape during steaming.

Once you have the ingredients, the process is straightforward and can be done in just a few simple steps.

Overall, Chinese steamed fish is a healthy and delicious way to enjoy fish. With just a few essential ingredients and some simple steps, you can create a tasty and nutritious meal that your whole family will love.

Essentials of Chinese Steamed Fish

A whole fish, steamed in a bamboo steamer, garnished with ginger, scallions, and soy sauce, served on a bed of lettuce

Chinese steamed fish is a classic dish that is easy to prepare and perfect for any occasion. Here are the essential steps to prepare a delicious Chinese steamed fish.

Selecting the Right Fish

Choosing the right fish is crucial for a successful steamed fish dish.

Freshness is key, so it is important to select a live fish or a fresh fillet.

Some popular types of fish used in Chinese steamed fish recipes include seabass, snapper, red snapper, trout, salmon, sole, tilapia, white pomfret, garoupa, and threadfin.

When selecting a whole fish, look for clear and bright eyes, firm and shiny skin, and a bright red gill.

If you are using fillets, make sure they are fresh and have no off-odours.

Preparation Techniques

There are different preparation techniques depending on the type of fish you are using.

For whole fish, you can either scale the fish or remove the scales after cooking. You can also remove the head and tail if you prefer.

For fillets, you can remove the skin or leave it on.

To marinate the fish, you can use a combination of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil.

You can also add other ingredients such as scallions, cilantro, and chili peppers for extra flavour.

Steaming Process

To steam the fish, you will need a steamer basket or a wok with a steaming rack.

Place the marinated fish on a heatproof plate and set it on the steaming rack.

Bring the water in the wok to a boil and steam the fish for about 8-10 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the fish.

Once the fish is cooked, remove it from the steamer and garnish it with scallions, cilantro, and chili peppers.

You can also add a drizzle of hot oil for extra flavour.

Flavouring and Serving

A whole fish steaming in a bamboo steamer, surrounded by ginger, garlic, and green onions. A small dish of soy sauce and a spoon next to the steamer

When it comes to flavouring and serving Chinese steamed fish, there are a few key elements to consider. Creating the right sauce and garnishing the dish can make all the difference in elevating the flavours. Here are some tips to help you create a delicious and visually appealing dish.

Creating the Sauce

The sauce is an essential element of steamed fish. It is what brings all the flavours together and adds depth to the dish.

A simple and classic sauce consists of soy sauce, ginger, sugar, salt, and cooking oil.

You can adjust the amounts of each ingredient to your liking.

For example, you can add more sugar if you prefer a sweeter sauce or more salt for a savoury flavour.

You can also add aromatics such as garlic, green onions, or old ginger to enhance the flavour profile.

Another option is to use light soy sauce, sesame oil, and white pepper to create a fragrant and savoury sauce.

Some people like to add Shaoxing wine to the sauce for an extra layer of complexity. Premium soy sauce or seasoned soy sauce can also be used to enhance the flavour.

Garnishing and Presentation

Garnishing and presentation are just as important as the sauce when it comes to steamed fish. A well-garnished dish can make the dish look more appetizing and visually appealing.

Spring onions, coriander, and garlic oil are popular garnishes for steamed fish. You can also sprinkle some 5 spice powder on top for added flavour.

To present the dish, place the steamed fish on a large serving plate and pour the sauce over it.

Garnish with the spring onions, coriander, and garlic oil.

You can also add some sliced red chillies for a pop of colour. Serve hot and enjoy the delicious and healthy meal!

Frequently Asked Questions

A whole fish steaming in a bamboo basket, surrounded by aromatic herbs and spices. A pair of chopsticks rests on the side

What's the ideal type of fish for a classic Chinese steamed dish?

The ideal type of fish for a classic Chinese steamed dish is a whole fish with firm white flesh and a mild flavour.

Some popular options include sea bass, red snapper, and tilapia.

The fish should be fresh and cleaned properly before steaming.

Can you suggest a simple steamed fish recipe with ginger and spring onions?

Sure, you can try this simple yet delicious recipe for steamed fish with ginger and spring onions:

  1. Clean and scale a whole fish (around 500g) and pat dry with kitchen paper.
  2. Make three diagonal slices on each side of the fish and stuff with thin slices of ginger and spring onions.
  3. Place the fish on a heatproof dish and steam over high heat for around 10-12 minutes.
  4. In a separate pan, heat up some oil until smoking hot and pour it over the fish.
  5. Garnish with more ginger and spring onions and serve immediately.

What's the secret to perfectly steaming a whole fish?

The secret to perfectly steaming a whole fish is to make sure the water is boiling before placing the fish in the steamer.

Also, make sure the fish is evenly sized so it cooks evenly.

Steaming time can vary depending on the size of the fish, but a general rule of thumb is to steam for around 10-12 minutes per 500g of fish.

How long should I steam a fish fillet for optimal flavour?

For optimal flavour, steam a fish fillet for around 5-7 minutes.

It's important not to overcook the fish as it will become dry and lose its delicate flavour.

Is steamed fish considered a healthy meal option?

Yes, steamed fish is considered a healthy meal option as it is low in fat and calories and high in protein.

It is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for good health.

Why is hot oil drizzled over Chinese steamed fish just before serving?

Hot oil is drizzled over Chinese steamed fish just before serving to enhance the flavour and aroma of the dish.

The hot oil helps to release the fragrance of the ginger and spring onions, and also adds a glossy sheen to the fish.