Qing Zheng Yu

Steamed Fish Southern Style

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as Part of a Chinese Meal, or 2 as a Single Dish.

Appears in

Having seen their fish swimming around in a tank or pond only minutes before they eat it, the Cantonese know how fresh it is. While few of us in the West are so lucky, we can best enjoy the flavour of fresh fish by cooking them whole. Steaming them this easy Cantonese way ensures that the delicate flesh remains moist and the result is an elegant main course.


  • 900 g–1.1 kg/2–2½ lb firm, white-fleshed fresh fish such as a small cod, halibut, haddock, scrod or red snapper, or a sole, cleaned and left whole
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 slices of peeled fresh ginger root, cut into shreds
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 4 spring onions, finely shredded
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil


Make three or four shallow slashes on each side of the fish. Rub the fish on both sides with the salt and let it sit for 20 minutes. Blanch the fish in a large pot of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain the fish well, and put it on a heat-proof platter. Scatter the ginger shreds evenly over the fish. Set up a large Chinese steamer or put a rack into a wok, fish kettle, or other deep pot. Fill it with about 5 cm/2 in of hot water. Bring the water to a simmer. Put the platter with the fish into the steamer or onto the rack. Cover the steamer tightly and gently steam over medium heat for 20 minutes.

Remove the platter and cooked fish from the steamer and pour off all the liquid. Pour the soy sauce over the fish and scatter the onions over and around the fish. Heat the oil until it just smokes, pour this over the fish, and serve at once.