Steamed whole fish with ginger and spring onion is often one of the main dishes on any Chinese table. From family gatherings,  New Year celebrations to formal weddings, this humble dish is simple to prepare.

Any type of fish can be steamed and I often use sea bream as my first choice or sea bass as my second. If you are feeling rather lavish, you can opt for the ‘king of fish’ turbot which often seen at wedding banquets.

When it comes to preparing this dish, the hardest part is tackling the shape of the plate on which the fish sits on and placing into the steamer. Find a suitable dish that will fit into your steamer and you’re ready to go.

You’ll need the following

1 sea bream or sea bass (about 700g) 

50ml of water

50ml soy sauce 

5 slices of ginger julienned

2 spring onions, trimmed and julienned (keep the white part separate)

2 tbsp oil 

1 tsp sugar 



The wok I have is 36″ in diameter  and enough to fit a plate that is 11″ in length.


You will also need a shallow steam rack and hot plate tong which you can get online or  from your local chinese supermarket.

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Add enough water so that it just reaches the steam rack and then turn up the heat.


In a bowl, add the soy sauce, water and sugar and mix then set aside.


Most fish counters today will help you clean and descale the fish. If you wish to have the head removed, they will be able to that too. However, if they cannot do that, then you have to deal with the fish head on.

To descale the fish, use a small paring knife and remove the scales from around the fish. Make sure you focus on the belly, edges of the fish including the top, near the fins, and the head.   It’s a bad experience when you have to remove the scales once the fish is cooked.


Carefully remove any fins with kitchen scissors


Leave the head and the tail intact for presentation.


Carefully place the fish into the steamer.


Place the fish in the steamer and cook for approximately 13-15minutes. This will depend on the size of your fish. As you can see I pierced the flesh. If the flesh is not white, cook for a few minutes more.

Once cooked, pour away the fish juice as this too fishy and will ruin the finish product. Lay a 1/2 of the green parts of the spring onions onto the fish.


On high heat, cook the ginger then add the white part of the spring onions. Add the soy mixture to the hot wok then pour over the fish.