Chinese Ginger-Soy Steamed Fish

Ginger soy steamed fish recipe in a white oval-shaped dish

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
388 Calories
23g Fat
3g Carbs
41g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 388
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 90mg 30%
Sodium 682mg 30%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 41g
Vitamin C 2mg 10%
Calcium 34mg 3%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 635mg 14%
*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, and a healthy one, too.

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, which provide a unique flavor combination. Serve the fish with simple stir-fried green beans and white rice.


For the Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons slivered fresh ginger

  • 2 clove 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 granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper

For the Fish:

  • 4 (6-ounce) sea bass or halibut fillets

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions, white parts only

  • 3 tablespoons cilantro leaves

Steps to Make It

Prepare the Steamer

  1. Place a steaming rack in a wok or a deep pan and fill the pan with 2 inches of water. The water level should be below the steaming rack.

    Steamer basket in wok, water pouring into the bottom of the wok

    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. Bring the water to a boil over high heat.

    Steamer basket with water coming to boil

    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Make the Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Sauce ingredients gathered for Chinese ginger soy steamed fish

    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the ginger, garlic, 3 tablespoons canola oil, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, sugar, cornstarch, and white pepper.

    Sauce whisked together in a white bowl for Chinese steamed fish

    ​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.

    Ginger soy marinade on fish on a plate

    ​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 7 to 10 minutes per inch thickness of fish.

    Marinated fish in pan inside wok, ready for steaming

    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  4. Carefully remove the plate from the steamer and transfer the fillets to a warmed platter. Spoon the rest of the sauce over the fish.

    Ginger soy steamed fish on a white oval platter

    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Serve the Fish

  1. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a small pan until near smoking.

    Canola oil heating in a saucepan

    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. Place the green onions and cilantro on top of the fish fillets, and carefully drizzle the hot oil over the fish.

    Cooked fish with cilantro and green onion garnish on an oval-shaped white platter

    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  3. Serve immediately.


The best way to determine if your steamed fish is done involves testing it with a fork. Place it in the fish at the thickest point and twist it gently. If the fish is ready, it will flake easily and won't look raw or translucent. When in doubt, cook the fish until an instant-read thermometer registers an internal temperature of 140 to 145 F.


If you don't have a steamer plate as indicated in this recipe, you can still easily make this dish. All you need a shallow pot of boiling water. Place the fish on a wire rack, and insert the rack above the water line in the pot. Place a lid over the pot and keep the water boiling and that will also steam your fish. Similarly, if you have a steamer basket insert that works with your pot, that can also be used.

How to Store Steamed Fish

This fish dish is best refrigerated and eaten within three days of cooking.

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