Steaming is one of the healthiest cooking methods. But this dish is nothing but plain and boring. The Chinese steamed fish is infused with flavourful fermented black beans and fragrant scallion oil. It takes 15 minutes to make and uses only 5 ingredients.
Traditional preparation of Chinese steamed fish often uses whole fish. Because my kids’ food preferences are so Canadian, there is no way they would eat a whole fish with bones and all. I made this dish with fish fillets to be more accessible for my North American readers. As a bonus, the use of fish fillets also cuts down cooking time and makes the dish even easier to prepare as a quick weeknight meal. Watch the video for how easy it is to make this Chinese steamed fish.
Chinese Steamed Fish Ingredients
This recipe uses only 5 ingredients.
- White fish fillets: I used sole fillets in this recipe (see video), but any white fish fillet will work. Chinese steamed fish often uses a whole fish, such as seabass and tilapia. If you choose to use a whole fish, I highly recommend using a fresh one for best flavour and results. It may take 10 to 15 minutes to cook the fish. Be sure to increase the cooking time according to the size of your fish.
- Soy sauce
- Fermented black beans: You can find fermented whole black beans in vacuum sealed packages or preserved in oil. They add a strong salty and umami flavour to dishes.
- Green onion (scallion)
- Avocado oil: If not available, you can use any neutral flavour oil, such as canola oil, corn oil, etc. I use avocado oil because it’s healthier than the other options.
Choosing a Steamer
To make this dish, you will need a steamer. You can use a stainless steal steamer pot or you can put a separate steamer basket on top of a large pot. You can also use a bamboo steamer basket (like the one I use in the video) on top of a pot or wok. Whichever option you choose, make sure you have plenty of flat surface inside your steamer to fit your dishes.
The Hot Oil Method
Finishing a dish with hot oil pouring over aromatic ingredients is a common Chinese cooking technique. It is quick and easy, yet adds so much flavour to a simple and healthy dish. I use hot oil to extract the aroma of scallion in this steamed fish. In other dishes, you may also see hot oil used over garlic, ginger, chili flakes, etc. to achieve different flavours.
Related: More Healthy Fish Recipes You Will Love
- Easy Honey Teriyaki Salmon
- Hamachi Crudo
- Gluten-Free Salmon Spring Rolls
- Coconut Pea Puree + Baked Sole Flowers
- Keto Sushi (Probiotic, Low-Carb)
Chinese Steamed Fish
- Stainless Steel Steamer optional
- Place the fish fillets in a single layer on a heat-proof plate. Pour soy sauce over the fish and spread minced black beans evenly on the fish.
- Place the plate inside a steamer. Turn the heat on high. When it comes to a full steam, turn the heat down to medium-low and continue steaming for about 5 minutes until the fish is just cooked.
- Spread the green onion on top of the fish. Heat the avocado oil in a small pot until it begins to smoke. Immediately pour the hot oil over the green onion. You should hear the green onion sizzle and it becomes very fragrant.