A whole fish is steamed in Teochew-style which typically uses pomfret fish dressed with salted plums and salted vegetables. It’s a very simple dish but incredibly tasty. It is perfect for any weeknight or for a Chinese New Year meal.
My mom is a Teochew and so this steamed white pomfret was something that I ate very often as a kid. I haven’t made this for ages and so I decided to prepare this so my kids can have a taste of some of the food I grew up eating.
What is Teochew-style steamed pomfret/fish?
It is basically just a steamed fish, but what makes it “Teochew” is a few essential ingredients that are usually used in Teochew steamed fish. White pomfret/silver pomfret is usually used for this dish.
The dish also includes salted/pickled plums and pickled vegetables (haam choy/kiam chai). There are also other ingredients my mom usually used in her Teochew steamed fish: soft tofu, mushrooms, and tomatoes. But I can say that the salted plums and veggies are what make the dish unique.
How to cook Teochew steamed white pomfret
1. I bought the pomfret that has been scaled and gutted. I trim off excess tail and fins to make sure the fish fit into my serving plate. You don’t have to if it fits on the plate
Cut two to three slits on both sides of the fish so they cook faster and evenly. Season with a small pinch of salt on both sides by rubbing onto the fish
2. Bring the water in a steamer to a boil
3. While waiting for water to boil, scatter half of the salted vegetables on the plate
4. Put the fish on top. This helps to “prop up” the fish so it cooks evenly. Arrange the rest of the salted vegetables, tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms slices, tofu cubes, ginger slices around the fish. Drizzle with seasonings
5. Put inside the steamer and steam over high heat for 10 minutes or until cooked through. The flesh will flake easily when it cooks through
6. 3 minutes before the end of steaming time, scatter some red chili strips on top and continue to steam. Remove from the steamer and scatter with some green onion strips and serve immediately as part of a multi-course meal with some rice or congee/porridge
1. You can request your fishmonger to scale and gut the fish for you if you don’t want to do this at home
2. It is recommended to cut a few slits on each side so the fish cooks evenly
3. It doesn’t take long to cook a fish. You can check for doneness by flaking the flesh. If it flakes easily, the fish is done cooking. The eyes also pop out when it’s done cooking
Did you make this Teochew steamed white pomfret recipe?
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Teochew Steamed White Pomfret
- 800 gr white pomfret About 1 medium to large-size white pomfret
- 1 large tomato cut into 4-6 wedges
- 2 large dried shiitake mushrooms soaked and cut into thin strips
- 100 gr pickled vegetables (haam choy) cut into thin strips
- 2 salted plums mashed
- 200 gr soft tofu cut into cubes
- 5 gr ginger cut into thin strips
- 1 large red chili cut into shtrips
- 4 stalks green onion cut into thin strips
- Cilantro leaves roughly chopped
Prepare the fish:
- I bought the pomfret that has been scaled and gutted. I trim off excess tail and fins to make sure the fish fit into my serving plate. You don't have to if it fits on the plate
- Cut two to three slits on both sides of the fish so they cook faster and evenly. Season with a small pinch of salt on both sides by rubbing onto the fish
Steaming the fish:
- Mix all ingredients for seasonings and set it aside
- Bring the water in a steamer to a boil. While waiting for water to boil, scatter half of the salted vegetables on the plate. Put the fish on top. This helps to "prop up" the fish so it cooks evenly