Chinese Ginger-Soy Steamed Fish

Ginger soy steamed fish recipe

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
348 Calories
22g Fat
3g Carbs
33g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 348
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 28%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 70mg 23%
Sodium 632mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 33g
Calcium 42mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe for Chinese ginger-soy steamed fish comes from cookbook author Farina Kingsley with permission of Aimee Bianca, YC Media. Kingsley says steaming is a popular Cantonese culinary technique that produces delicious, healthy, and moist foods. It is an especially great way to cook fish.

If you don't have a wok, don't fret; you can steam the fish on a rack in a deep pan that has a lid or in a lidded steamer basket.

This steaming technique can be applied to whole fish, not just to fillets as done here. Some dishes, like Chinese pot stickers or dumplings, use a combination of cooking techniques—steaming and pan-frying. 

This recipe's sauce uses both light and dark soy sauces.


  • For the Fish
  • 4 (6-ounce) sea bass or halibut fillets
  • 1/4 cup green onions (white parts only, finely sliced on the bias)
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • For the Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger (sliced into fine slivers)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon light ​soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ​dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ​toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this ginger-soy steamed fish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for cooking.

Prepare the Steamer

  1. Place a steaming rack in a wok or a deep pan and fill the pan with two inches of water. The water level should be below the steaming rack.

    Basket in wok
    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  2. Bring the water to a boil over high heat.

    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Make the Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for sauce
    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the ginger, garlic, three tablespoons canola oil, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, sugar, cornstarch, and white pepper.

    Whisk sauce
    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prepare the Fish

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for ginger soy steamed fish
    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  2. Place the fish fillets on a heatproof plate suitable for steaming and large enough to hold the fillets in a single layer. Spoon some of the sauce evenly over the fish fillets.

    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  3. Place the plate of fish on the steaming rack, cover tightly and steam the fish over high heat for seven to 10 minutes per inch thickness of fish.

    Place in pan
    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  4. Carefully remove the plate from the steamer and transfer the fillets to a warmed platter and spoon the rest of the sauce over the fish.

    Remove onto a plate
    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Serve the Fish

  1. Heat the remaining two tablespoons of canola oil in a small pan until near smoking.

    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  2. Place the green onions and cilantro on top of the fish filets and carefully drizzle the hot oil over the fish.

    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  3. Serve immediately.

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