Teochew Steamed Pomfret

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Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Chinese Heritage Cooking

Chinese Heritage Cooking

By Christopher Tan and Amy Van

Published 2018

  • About

Teochews prize white and silver pomfrets for their fine-textured, moist flesh and delicate marine flavour, and favour them in this dish. Black pomfret is considered too coarse in flavour and texture for this treatment. The broth that pools in the plate after steaming distils the natural juices of all the ingredients into a beautifully subtle balance of sour, sweet and earthy tastes. Steamed pomfret may be served with rice or congee.


  • Salted vegetable (kiam chye) 60 g ( oz)
  • Dried shiitake mushrooms 6
  • Wet salted plums (sng boey) 2
  • Very thinly sliced pork fat 1 Tbsp
  • Young ginger 45 g (1⅔ oz), peeled and finely shredded
  • Fresh white or silver pomfret 1, about 500–700 g (1 lb 1½ oz–1½ lb), cleaned
  • Shaoxing rice wine 1 Tbsp
  • Light soy sauce 1 Tbsp
  • Ground white pepper ¼ tsp
  • Salt tsp
  • Ripe tomatoes 2, small, cut into quarters
  • Spring onions (scallions) 2, cut into 3-cm (1-in) lengths
  • Red chilli ½, deseeded and cut into fine strips


  1. Wash salted vegetable and soak in fresh water for 15 minutes, then drain. Thinly slice, rinse again well and drain.
  2. Soak mushrooms in 200 ml ( fl oz / cup) water for 30 minutes. Strain soaking liquid and reserve. Cut off and discard mushroom stems and slice caps into strips.
  3. Combine mushrooms, mushroom soaking liquid and salted plums in a small pot. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat, cook for 1 minute, then turn off heat.
  4. Scatter half the salted vegetable, pork fat and ginger across a large heatproof plate. Make 2 or 3 deep slashes on each side of pomfret, cutting on a diagonal. Place pomfret on top of pork fat and ginger. Sprinkle fish with Shaoxing rice wine, light soy sauce, pepper and salt.
  5. Ladle hot mushroom broth over fish. Scatter mushrooms and salted plums over and around fish, along with remaining salted vegetable, pork fat and ginger, and the tomatoes, spring onions and chilli.
  6. Steam for 10–12 minutes over high heat until pomfret flesh is just cooked through. Serve immediately with rice or congee.