This is a classic Chinese dish, one that is served for at family meals at home and out. You can find a whole steamed fish at Chinese banquets celebrating weddings, birthdays and festivals, as the Chinese character for fish, is pronounced the same way as the symbol for good luck, good fortune, and long life. A typical Chinese banquet has 12 courses, and as a little girl the steamed fish was always my favourite with its silky smooth texture and simple flavour which was always welcomed after so many different flavours from the previous dishes. Fast forward a decade or so, this simple dish is still one of my favourites to eat at a banquet, and it is my favourite to make at home when I need a bit of a detox after having too many dinners out or unhealthy choices.
Usually this dish is made with a whole sea bass, but for a quick and simple way you can use fish fillets such as tilapia, cod, sea bass fillets or cat fish. It's really up to your personal preference and what sort of white fish fillets you have access to. It shouldn't take you more than 20 mins to make this recipe, its healthy, and perfect served over some steamed rice.
Ingredients to serve 2:
2 medium cod fillets (or your choice of white fish)
5 spring onions
3 tablespoons sliced/julienned ginger
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Finely slice the spring onion and ginger. Mix together the soy sauce, salt, sugar and water in a small bowl. Pat dry the fish fillets and season with a little white pepper and salt and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sliced ginger.
Set up your steamer for the fish. If you don't have a steamer, you can improvise like I do, with a wok or large saucepan and a lid. You can place a elevated steaming rack on the bottom of the pan, or you can use a cleaned empty can (tuna can size) or use a small bowl for your plate to sit on. Fill the wok/pan with about 1 inch of water, cover with a lid and let it boil. Place your plate with the seasoned fish on the rack inside the wok/pan. Cover with the lid and let it steam for approx 10 mins. You can check if it's cooked by inserting a knife through the meat - if you reach the bottom of the plate easily then its done. Also note that the fish will change colour, from translucent to white.
Turn off the heat, and remove the fish on to a serving plate. Spread 1/3 of the spring onions onto the fish. Set aside.
Heat a wok or saucepan over high to medium heat and add the oil. Add the remaining ginger and let it lightly brown for under 1 minute. Then add the rest of the spring onions. Next add the soy sauce mixture to the saucepan and keep the heat on high so the ingredients should be sizzling. Cook until the spring onions have wilted, and take it off the heat and pour the hot mixture over the fish. It's now ready to eat, and best served alongside some steamed jasmine rice and a plate of stir fried veggies!