Steamed Whole Fish

Steamed Whole Fish


1 person made this

About this recipe: A whole fish is one of the most important dishes served during a Chinese banquet. I have eaten it both at weddings and at Chinese New Year. The fish must be served with its head and tail intact to properly signify a favorable beginning and end to the new year. I steam fish all the time for a healthy and tasty main course too.

Pat Central Region, Singapore

Serves: 6 

  • 1 tablespoon salted black beans
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (2 cm) piece ginger, peeled and shredded
  • 1 teaspoon corn flour
  • 1 teaspoon soya sauce
  • 1 red snapper or garoupa, cleaned and gutted, head and tail intact
  • Chopped spring onions and coriander sprigs

Prep:10min  ›  Cook:10min  ›  Extra time:30min marinating  ›  Ready in:50min 

  1. Rinse the black beans in several changes of cold water and drain in a small sieve. Crush the beans in a small bowl with the back of a spoon. Add the garlic, ginger, corn flour and soya sauce, and mix well to form a thick paste.
  2. Make 3 slashes on either side of the fish and spread the paste evenly over both sides. Set aside for 30 minutes.
  3. Steam the fish over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until the flesh turns opaque and flakes off easily with a fork.
  4. Remove the fish and garnish with spring onions and cilantro sprigs. Serve immediately.

Other ideas

Skip the black beans and steam the fish with ginger and spring onions and sesame oil. Add more soya sauce too.


Instead of a whole fish, you can use fish steaks or fillets too, just not at Chinese New Year!

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