Chinese Style Steam Fish Recipe: A Delicious and Healthy Dish – Seaco Online
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Chinese Style Steam Fish Recipe: A Delicious and Healthy Dish

For those seeking a nutritious and tasty way to prepare fish, look no further than the traditional Chinese method of steaming. By using this cooking technique, you can preserve the natural flavours and nutrients of the fish while ensuring it remains moist and tender. With the right ingredients and a few straightforward steps, you can whip up a dish that is sure to impress your loved ones.

A whole fish steaming in a bamboo steamer, surrounded by ginger, scallions, and cilantro, with steam rising from the dish

To get started, you'll need to select the perfect fish for your recipe. While many types of fish can be used for steaming, some of the most popular choices include sea bass, tilapia, and striped bass. If you're not sure which fish to choose, ask your local fishmonger for recommendations based on your taste preferences and cooking experience.

Once you've selected your fish, you'll need to prepare it for steaming. This involves cleaning and seasoning the fish, as well as crafting a signature sauce to add flavor and depth to the dish. With a few simple techniques and some fresh ingredients, you can create a delicious and healthy meal that is perfect for any occasion.

Selecting the Perfect Fish

A hand reaches for a fresh fish at a bustling Chinese market, surrounded by vibrant ingredients and traditional cooking utensils

When it comes to making a delicious Chinese-style steamed fish, selecting the right type of fish is crucial. Here are some tips to help you choose the perfect fish for your recipe.

Types of Fish Suitable for Steaming

Many types of fish are suitable for steaming, but some are better than others. Whole fish are often used for Chinese-style steamed fish, but fillets can also be used. Here are some of the best types of fish for steaming:

  • Tilapia: This mild-tasting fish is a popular choice for steaming. It is widely available and affordable.
  • Snapper: This firm-fleshed fish has a sweet, mild flavour that works well with steaming.
  • Flounder: This delicate-tasting fish is perfect for steaming. It has a mild, sweet flavour that pairs well with Asian flavours.
  • Sea bass: This meaty fish is perfect for steaming. It has a rich, buttery flavour that works well with Asian flavours.
  • Grouper: This firm, white-fleshed fish is perfect for steaming. It has a mild, sweet flavour that pairs well with Asian flavours.
  • Sea bream: This delicate-tasting fish has a mild, sweet flavour that works well with steaming.
  • Red snapper: This firm-fleshed fish has a sweet, nutty flavour that works well with steaming.
  • Salmon: This rich, oily fish is perfect for steaming. It has a bold, flavourful taste that pairs well with Asian flavours.
  • Tuna: This meaty fish is perfect for steaming. It has a rich, meaty flavour that works well with Asian flavours.
  • Catfish: This mild-tasting fish is a popular choice for steaming. It has a firm texture and a sweet, mild flavour.

What to Look for at the Fishmonger

When selecting a fish for steaming, it's important to choose a fresh fish. Here are some things to look for when shopping for fish:

  • Clear, shiny and bulging eyes
  • Bright red gills
  • Shiny and firm scales
  • Firm and wet flesh (not slippery)
  • The mucus covering the fish should be glossy and transparent

If possible, try to get live fish. If not, steam the fish on the day it is bought or within the next day. Frozen fish can also be used, but it won't have the same fresh taste as fresh fish. If you're unsure about how to choose a fish, don't be afraid to ask the fishmonger for advice.

Seafood is a great addition to any steamed fish recipe. For example, you could add prawns or scallops to your steamed fish dish. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Preparing the Fish for Steaming

A whole fish being cleaned and scaled, with ginger, scallions, and soy sauce nearby for seasoning

Before you start steaming your fish, there are a few things you need to do to prepare it. This section will guide you through the process of cleaning, scoring, and seasoning your fish to make sure it's ready for steaming.

Cleaning and Gutting

The first step in preparing your fish for steaming is to clean and gut it. If you are using a whole fish, you will need to remove the scales, gut the fish, and remove the gills. If you are using a fillet, you can skip this step.

To clean your fish, rinse it under cold running water and use a scaler or the back of a knife to remove the scales. Once the scales are removed, cut off the tail and head of the fish, and gut the fish by removing the internal organs. Rinse the fish again under cold running water to remove any remaining blood or debris.

Scoring and Seasoning

The next step is to score your fish and season it. Scoring the fish helps it cook more evenly and allows the flavours to penetrate the flesh. To score the fish, use a sharp knife to make diagonal cuts on both sides of the fish.

Once the fish is scored, season it with salt and any other seasonings you prefer, such as ginger or garlic. If you are using seafood, such as prawns or scallops, you can also season them at this point.

Now that your fish is cleaned, gutted, scored, and seasoned, it's ready for steaming. Follow the instructions in your chosen recipe to steam the fish to perfection.

The Steaming Process

A steaming basket sits atop a pot, releasing aromatic steam. Whole fish, ginger, and scallions are arranged inside, ready for cooking

Setting Up Your Steaming Equipment

To start the steaming process, you will need to set up your steaming equipment. You can use a wok, a steamer, a pot with a lid, or a deep skillet. If you are using a wok or a pot, you will need to place a steaming rack at the bottom of the wok or pot. If you are using a steamer, you can use a bamboo steamer. Make sure that your steaming equipment is clean before use.

Timing Your Fish Perfectly

Timing is crucial when it comes to steaming fish. You want to make sure that your fish is cooked perfectly and not overcooked. The steaming time will depend on the size of your fish. As a general rule, you should steam your fish for 8-10 minutes. The steaming time will be shorter for smaller fish and longer for larger fish.

To ensure that your fish is cooked perfectly, check the flesh to see if it flakes easily and does not stick to the bones. The eyes should also be protruded. If your fish is not cooked yet, you can steam it for a few more minutes.

It is recommended that you use fresh seafood for your steamed fish recipe. You can use different types of seafood such as sea bass, red snapper, or any other white fish. Make sure that your seafood is cleaned thoroughly before steaming.

Crafting the Signature Sauce

A wok sizzles as the chef adds soy sauce, ginger, and garlic to the fish, filling the air with savory aromas. Green onions and cilantro garnish the dish, creating a vibrant and appetizing presentation

When it comes to Chinese-style steamed fish, the sauce is what takes it to the next level. A well-crafted sauce can elevate the fish's natural flavours and make the dish truly outstanding. Here's how you can make your signature sauce for your steamed fish:

Combining Soy Sauce and Aromatics

The base of the sauce is soy sauce, which is readily available in most grocery stores. It's essential to use a high-quality soy sauce that is not too salty, so it doesn't overpower the fish's taste. Add a few aromatics like ginger, scallions, and cilantro to the soy sauce to give it a fragrant and flavourful kick. You can also add a few drops of sesame oil, oyster sauce, dry sherry, or Shaoxing wine to enhance the sauce's complexity. For a more robust flavour, you can also add a few drops of dark soy sauce.

If you're using seafood instead of fish, you can use the same sauce recipe to marinate the seafood before steaming it. Shrimp, scallops, and crab are excellent options to use in this recipe.

Finishing with Hot Oil

The final touch to the sauce is hot oil. Heat some peanut oil until it's almost smoking, then pour it over the aromatics and soy sauce mixture. The hot oil will release the aromatics' fragrance and infuse the sauce with a nutty flavour. Be careful when pouring the hot oil as it can splatter and burn you. You can also add a few slices of chilli to the hot oil to give the sauce a spicy kick.

Once the sauce is ready, pour it over the steamed fish or seafood and serve immediately. The sauce's heat will help cook the fish further, so it's essential to serve it right away. Garnish with some fresh cilantro leaves and enjoy your delicious steamed fish or seafood dish.

Overall, making the signature sauce for your steamed fish or seafood is easy and straightforward. With a few simple ingredients and some creativity, you can create a sauce that's unique to your taste and preferences.

Serving and Enjoying

A steaming plate of Chinese-style fish, surrounded by colorful vegetables and aromatic herbs, sits on a table ready to be enjoyed

After all the hard work of cooking your Chinese-style steamed fish, it's time to enjoy your delicious creation. Here are some tips on how to serve and present your dish to impress your family and friends.

Accompaniments and Side Dishes

To complement your steamed fish, you can serve it with a bowl of steamed white rice. The rice will absorb the flavourful sauce from the fish and make for a perfect combination. If you want to add some greens to your meal, Chinese broccoli is a great option. Simply blanch it in boiling water for a few minutes and serve it with oyster sauce.

For a burst of freshness, you can garnish your fish with chopped green onions and coriander. These herbs will add some colour and flavour to your dish. You can also serve your fish with a side of chilli sauce or soy sauce for dipping.

Presentation Tips

To make your steamed fish look more appealing, you can present it on a platter with some steamed white rice and Chinese broccoli on the side. You can also add some chopped green onions and coriander on top of the fish for a pop of colour.

If you want to take things up a notch, you can snap a picture of your dish and share it on social media. Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest are great platforms to showcase your culinary skills and inspire others to try out your recipe.

As a suggestion, you can also use other types of seafood such as sea bass or tilapia for this recipe. These fish have a similar texture and flavour to the striped bass and can be used as a substitute.

Frequently Asked Questions

A steaming bamboo basket filled with whole fish and aromatic Chinese herbs, surrounded by a bustling kitchen with chefs and cooks preparing traditional Chinese dishes

What's the best type of fish to use for a Chinese steamed fish dish?

The best type of fish to use for a Chinese steamed fish dish is a whole fresh fish. Some of the most commonly used fish for this dish include sea bass, red snapper, and tilapia. Freshness is key, so make sure to choose a fish that has clear eyes, bright skin, and a firm texture.

Can you give me a simple method for steaming fish Chinese style?

Certainly! To steam fish Chinese style, you'll need a steamer basket or a wok with a lid. First, rinse the fish and pat it dry. Then, season it with salt, pepper, and your choice of aromatics such as ginger and scallions. Place the fish in the steamer basket or on a heatproof plate and steam for 8-10 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. Once the fish is cooked, remove it from the steamer and pour over a sauce made from soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar. Garnish with more scallions and serve immediately.

How long does it typically take to steam a fish?

The cooking time for steaming fish depends on the size and type of fish you are using. As a general rule, small fish (below 500g) take about 8 minutes to steam, while larger fish can take up to 15 minutes. To ensure that your fish is fully cooked, check that the flesh flakes easily and does not stick to the bones.

What are some healthy ingredients to include in a steamed fish recipe?

Steamed fish is a healthy and light dish, and there are many ingredients that you can use to add flavour and nutrition. Some popular options include ginger, garlic, scallions, and chillies. You can also add vegetables such as bok choy or broccoli to the steamer basket to cook alongside the fish.

How can I steam fish if I don't have a traditional wok at home?

If you don't have a traditional wok, you can still steam fish using a steamer basket or a metal colander placed inside a large pot. Simply fill the pot with about an inch of water, place the steamer basket or colander on top, and cover with a lid. Bring the water to a boil and steam the fish as usual.

Is eating steamed fish beneficial for your health?

Yes, steamed fish is a healthy and nutritious dish that is low in fat and high in protein. Fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for heart health and brain function. Steaming the fish helps to preserve its nutrients and natural flavour, making it a great choice for a healthy meal. If you're looking to incorporate seafood into your steamed fish recipe, you can try using prawns, scallops, or mussels for a delicious and nutritious variation.