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Hong Kong Steam Fish: A Delicious and Healthy Dish

If you're looking for a healthy and delicious way to prepare fish, look no further than Hong Kong-style steamed fish.

This Cantonese dish is simple to make and highlights the natural flavors of the fish. Plus, it's a great way to get all the health benefits of fish without adding any extra fat or calories.

A whole steamed fish with ginger and scallions, placed on a round plate with a side of soy sauce, surrounded by steam rising from the dish

The dish is typically made with a whole fish, which is steamed with aromatics like ginger and scallions.

The fish is then finished with hot oil and a light soy sauce dressing. The result is a tender, delicate fish that is bursting with flavor.

While sea bass is a popular choice for this dish, you can use any white fish you like, such as grouper, red snapper, or tilapia.

Key Takeaways

  • Hong Kong-style steamed fish is a healthy and delicious way to prepare fish.
  • The dish is made by steaming a whole fish with aromatics like ginger and scallions.
  • Any white fish can be used for this dish, such as sea bass, grouper, or tilapia.

The Basics of Hong Kong Steamed Fish

A whole fish steams in a bamboo steamer, surrounded by ginger, scallions, and soy sauce. Steam rises from the pot

If you're a seafood lover, you must try Hong Kong-style steamed fish. This dish is a popular Cantonese cuisine that's healthy, light, and flavorful. Here are the basics of making Hong Kong-style steamed fish:

Selecting the Right Fish

The key to making a delicious steamed fish is to use fresh fish.

You can use any type of fresh fish that you like, but some popular choices include grouper, sea bass, cod, flounder, pomfret, eel, garoupa, and threadfin.

When selecting a fish, look for clear eyes, bright red gills, and shiny skin. If you're buying a whole fish, make sure it's firm to the touch and has a fresh smell.

You can buy fresh fish from your local fishmonger or fish market.

Preparation Techniques

Before steaming the fish, you need to prepare it properly. Here are some preparation techniques to follow:

  1. Clean the fish: Rinse the fish under cold water and pat it dry with a paper towel. Make sure to remove any scales and guts.

  2. Score the fish: Use a sharp knife to make 2-3 deep cuts on each side of the fish. This will help the fish cook evenly and absorb the flavors.

  3. Season the fish: Rub the fish with salt, pepper, and a little bit of oil.

  4. You can also stuff the cavity of the fish with ginger, scallions, and cilantro for extra flavor.

  5. Steam the fish: Place the fish on a heatproof plate and steam it for 8-10 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. You can steam the fish with or without the head and tail.

  6. Serve the fish: Once the fish is cooked, remove it from the steamer and garnish it with more ginger, scallions, and cilantro. You can also add a soy sauce and sesame oil dressing for extra flavor.

Mastering the Cooking Process

A steaming bamboo basket sits atop a wok, releasing fragrant steam. Inside, a whole fish is perfectly cooked, adorned with ginger, scallions, and soy sauce

Steaming Methodology

Steaming fish is a healthy and simple way to cook fish. The bamboo steamer is a popular choice for steaming fish as it allows for even cooking.

Place the fish in the steamer and prop it up with ginger and spring onion to prevent it from sticking to the bottom.

Timing is crucial when steaming fish, as overcooking can result in a dry and tough texture.

A general rule of thumb is to steam the fish for 8-10 minutes per inch of thickness.

Enhancing Flavours with Aromatics and Sauces

To enhance the flavour of the steamed fish, aromatics such as ginger and spring onion can be used.

These can be placed inside the cavity of the fish or on the bottom of the steamer.

A sauce can also be added to the fish after it is steamed.

A simple sauce can be made by heating soy sauce, sugar, and oil in a wok until it sizzles.

Premium soy sauce or seasoned soy sauce can be used for a richer flavour. Garnish the fish with cilantro and minced garlic for added freshness and aroma.

Frequently Asked Questions

A whole steamed fish on a bed of green vegetables, with a fragrant sauce drizzled over the top. A side of rice and a bowl of soup complete the meal

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

The best type of fish to use for a traditional Cantonese steamed fish dish is a whole fish that is fresh and has a firm texture.

Popular choices include sea bass, red snapper, and tilapia.

When choosing a fish, make sure that it has clear eyes, bright red gills, and shiny, tight skin.

Can you share a simple Hong Kong style steamed fish recipe?

Sure, here's a simple Hong Kong style steamed fish recipe that you can try at home:

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole sea bass, red snapper, or tilapia (about 500g)
  • 3 slices of ginger
  • 2 stalks of scallions
  • 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper

Instructions:

  1. Clean the fish and pat it dry with paper towels.
  2. Cut three slits on each side of the fish.
  3. Place the fish on a heatproof plate and stuff the ginger and scallions into the cavity.
  4. Mix the soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, vegetable oil, sugar, salt, and white pepper in a bowl.
  5. Pour the sauce over the fish.
  6. Steam the fish for about 12 minutes or until cooked through.
  7. Garnish with more scallions and serve hot.

What's the secret to making authentic Hong Kong steam fish sauce?

The secret to making authentic Hong Kong steam fish sauce is to use a combination of soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and sugar.

Some recipes also call for ginger, garlic, and chili peppers. The sauce should be poured over the fish before steaming to infuse the flavors into the flesh.

How long should you typically steam a fish for perfect results?

The steaming time for a fish depends on its size and thickness.

As a general rule, a 500g fish should be steamed for about 12 minutes or until cooked through.

If you are using fillet fish, you only need about 8-10 minutes to steam the fish.

It's important to let the steaming water simmer steadily and not too harshly to avoid splattering.

Is there a healthy steamed fish recipe that still tastes great?

Yes, steamed fish is a healthy and delicious dish that can be enjoyed without any guilt.

To make a healthy steamed fish recipe, simply use fresh fish, light soy sauce, and minimal oil.

You can also add vegetables like bok choy, mushrooms, and carrots to make it more nutritious.

How do you steam a fish in a pan without it sticking or breaking apart?

To steam a fish in a pan without it sticking or breaking apart, you can line the bottom of the pan with lettuce leaves or banana leaves. The leaves will create a barrier between the fish and the pan and prevent it from sticking.

You can also place the fish on a heatproof plate and steam it on top of a wok or a pot of boiling water. Make sure to handle the fish gently and avoid flipping it over during steaming.