(Chinese recipes, prepare authentic Chinese food now!)
I love Chinese-style steamed fish–fresh-from-the-tank live fish steamed with soy sauce and topped with shredded ginger, scallions, and cilantro leaves. To me, nothing tastes as satisfying as steamed fish with white rice, drizzled with the soy sauce from the steamed fish. Sometimes, I can just eat bowls and bowls of white rice with the soy sauce. Chinese steamed fish is just so delicious!
I am going to be biased on this: I personally think that fish is best eaten steamed. (Yes, sashimi and sushi lovers, you can protest now). It’s mostly a personal preference; I love the texture of a perfectly steamed fish–the flesh is tender, silky, and oh-so-delicate. Certain kind of fish is highly priced for its exceptional steamed texture, for example: my favorite “Soon Hock” fish, a fresh water fish commonly found in Malaysia. To me, the best part of steamed fish is the two pieces of fish cheek. The slightly chewy texture of fish cheeks is simply divine.
As simple as it might seem, making a perfect Chinese-style steamed fish takes a lot of techniques and skills. I am very fortunate to have learned the secret recipe and tricks from a Cantonese chef that would turn your plain steamed fish to Chinese-restaurant worthy. As you can see from the picture above, my steamed red cod (红斑鱼) looks like it’s straight from Shang Palace.
Secret Techniques for Restaurant-style Chinese Steamed Fish
- Fresh fish; preferably alive and swimming in a tank.
- 8-10 minutes steaming time. 8 minutes for a smaller fish or 10 minutes for a bigger fish. Use your best judgment, and don’t forget to set your kitchen alarm.
- Discard the fishy and cloudy fish “water” after steaming. Contrary to common belief, it doesn’t add flavors to a steamed fish dish. If any, it will leave a bitter–from the fish guts if the fish was not cleaned properly–and fishy taste.
- Rock sugar. Wonder why the soy sauce is so good that you can just eat plain steamed rice with the soy sauce mixture? Rock sugar is the secret.
- Use oil. Heat up some oil in your wok and pour it over the fish before adding the soy sauce. It gives your steamed fish that perfect sheen before you top it with the soy sauce mixture.
Below is my steamed fish recipe. Enjoy!