This easy and delicious steamed whole fish recipe is one of our family’s favorite fish recipes you do not want to miss. It’s clean-tasting and very aromatic.
My mom used to make this steamed whole fish with black bean sauce often for dinner. I love seafood of any kind, especially steamed whole fish like this.
WHAT KIND OF FISH TO USE
1. FILLET OR WHOLE FISH: Most Chinese or Asians in general, enjoy eating whole fish like this. I supposed it’s the culture that we grow up with and my parents are quite traditional in a sense that they prefer to be served a whole fish instead of fish fillet (without a head and tail). Fish fillet is also not commonly sold back in the days. Here in America, fish fillets are more common that whole fishes. You can definitely use fish fillet if you prefer.
2. TYPE OF FISH
For whole fishes: Many of the Asian fishes are not commonly available here in the U.S., so I usually use whole fish I can easily find at Costco such as sea bass and red snapper. If you have wide access to whole fish, you can use: grouper, pomfret, ribbonfish, kurau.
For fish fillet: You can use codfish fillet, tilapia, or sole.
Related Post: Thai-Style Steamed Whole Fish
SPECIAL INGREDIENT: CHINESE FERMENTED BLACK BEANS (DOUCHI)
Fermented black beans are also known as douchi are basically salted black beans that went through fermentation and process. They are also soft and extremely salty on their own. Douchi is usually used to flavor food and as part of seasonings in Chinese cooking. You can easily find this in any Asian grocery store or at Amazon if you don’t have any Asian store nearby.
HOW TO STEAM WHOLE FISH WITH BLACK BEAN SAUCE IN 6 SIMPLE STEPS
1. Clean the fish
I bought mine already cleaned, gutted, and scaled. If yours is not, make sure you remove the guts and all the inner parts, and remove the scale on both sides of the body
2. Get all the ingredients ready
3. Prepare a steamer
I use a wok that can fit in a plate with fish on it. Place a metal steaming rack on the wok, fill up with some water, ideally, the water level shouldn’t touch the plate. Bring the water to a boil. If you don’t have a steaming rack, use a bowl, but not too tall that you can’t close the lid or too small that the plate won’t balance.
4. Steam the fish
Finely chop the black beans into little pieces. Put the black beans, garlic, on top of the fish. Cover the lid and steam fish for about 12 minutes over high heat
Uncover the lid and pour in the seasonings and add chopped red chili (if using) let it steam for 1 more minute.
5. Check for doneness
If you pick the meat with a fork or chopstick, the flesh should flake, that means the fish is done. If it doesn’t, steam just a bit longer and check again
Then scattered the green onion on top. Turn off heat and cover with a lid again and let the residual heat soften the green onion on top, about another minute. Remove from the heat and garnish with some fresh cilantro leaves and serve immediately.
I love to make steam fish because they are pretty quick to cook. I don’t like my seafood, especially fish, deep-fried. I personally think the best way to enjoy fishes is to steam them, because you can taste the sweetness and freshness of the fish.
Related Post: Chinese Fish Fillet in Ginger Sauce (姜汁鱼片)
DID YOU MAKE THIS CHINESE STEAMED WHOLE FISH WITH BLACK BEAN SAUCE RECIPE?
I love it when you guys snap a photo and tag to show me what you’ve made 🙂 Simply tag me @WhatToCookToday #WhatToCookToday on Instagram and I’ll be sure to stop by and take a peek for real!
Chinese Steamed Whole Fish with Black Bean Sauce
- 1 large whole fish (about 600 gr) Suitable fishes are: grouper, cod fish, pomfret, ribbonfish, kurau, seabass
- 1 ½ Tbsp fermented black beans
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp minced ginger
- 2 red chilies seeded and chopped (optional)
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp shaoxing wine
- 1 stalk green onions finely chopped or thinly sliced
- small bunch of cilantro leaves
Prepare the fish:
- Pat the fish dry with an absorbent paper towel on both sides and place the fish on a plate. The plate should be able to fit into your steamer
- Stir all ingredients for seasonings in a small bowl. The sugar won't dissolve completely, don't worry about it
Prepare the steamer:
- I use a wok that can fit in a plate with fish on it. Place a metal steaming rack on the wok, fill up with some water, ideally, the water level shouldn't touch the plate. Bring the water to a boil. If you don't have a steaming rack, use a bowl, but not too tall that you can't close the lid or too small that the plate won't balance
Steam the fish:
- Finely chop the black beans into little pieces. Put the black beans, garlic, on top of the fish
- Cover the lid and steam fish for about 12 minutes over high heat
- Uncover the lid and pour in the seasonings and add chopped red chili (if using) let it steam for 1 more minute. Check the fish for doneness. If you pick the meat with a fork or chopstick, the flesh should flake, that means the fish is done. If it doesn't, steam just a bit longer and check again
- Then scattered the green onion on top. Turn off heat and cover with a lid again and let the residual heat soften the green onion on top, about another minute. Remove from the heat and garnish with some fresh cilantro leaves and serve immediately
I wanted to make something with a particularly thick salmon steak, so I tried this recipe 1:1 and it worked beautifully. Steaming is pretty reliable when cooking fish with a non-standard shape or thickness, and this sauce is a safe bet, even if salmon isn’t so typical for this kind of dish. Personally, I don’t even like salmon, so I was heavy-handed with the beans lol.
That’s great to know that it worked out great with salmon steak too! 🙂
I am glad you revisited this recipe with the steps involved. One of my true pleasures of life in the US is visiting the Asian stores and I always buy whole fish – love that they have all the options of how to prepare it for you. Getting it gutted and cleaned is such a convenience when you need a good looking whole fish! Recently we made banana leaves wrapped whole red snapper, but now I am craving this steamed whole fish with the black bean sauce. For the steaming rack – I have this circle thing that can fit on top of a large pot. I place it underneath my bamboo steamer and do not use a wok. I love it, it is very stable. If I place a plate with the whole fish on top instead of the bamboo steamer, sounds like it will work? The lid should fit pretty well over the plate with fish.
I agree. I love that they can clean it for you, some will even deep-fry it if you pay a small fee or something like that. I love wrapping the fish in banana leaves and steam or grill it, smells amazing! Oh yes, if you put the plate on top of the metal trivet thing inside the large pot, it will totally work as a steamer too!
i an to try soto betawi
Hope you like it 🙂