Steamed Whole Fish

steamed whole fish with scallions

Getty Images / xia yuan

Prep: 35 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 3 to 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
249 Calories
10g Fat
11g Carbs
28g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 249
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 396mg 132%
Sodium 155mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Protein 28g
Calcium 70mg 5%
*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.)

The preparation is very basic for this recipe, which means it's totally doable, even for beginning cooks. Just be sure to use fresh fish, and clean and dry it thoroughly.

You can change the recipe by using different seasonings (chili peppers are a good option) and garnishing with garlic, chopped cilantro, green onions, or shredded peppers. You can also increase the ginger for a stronger flavor. Serve it with any stir-fry dish - vegetable, meat or poultry.

Note: The preparation time includes the marinade time and assumes that you will prepare the remaining ingredients and set up the steamer while the fish is marinating.


  • 2 tablespoons salted black beans
  • 1 1/2 pounds whole walleye or red snapper (well cleaned)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger (finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 green onions (with tops)

Steps to Make It

  1. In a small bowl, place the black beans and cover with warm water. Stir the beans for about 2 minutes to remove the excess salt.

  2. Remove the beans from the water, rinse and drain well.

  3. Slash the fish crosswise 3 times on each side.

  4. In a small bowl, mix the ginger, vegetable oil, black beans, garlic, salt, sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil. Rub the cavity and outside of the fish with the mixture. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes or longer.

  5. Cut the green onions into 2-inch pieces; shred lengthwise into fine strips. Place in a bowl with ice water to cover; let stand 10 minutes, or until the strips curl.

  6. Place the fish on a heatproof plate (see the note below). Place the plate on a rack in a steamer, cover, and steam over boiling water until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 10 minutes. (Add boiling water if necessary). Garnish with green onions.

Note: If you want to cook this fish in the microwave, cover the fish with plastic wrap on a microwave dish and cook for 3 minutes on high. Let stand for 2 minutes and rotate the dish. Cook an additional 2 minutes on high.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Everyday Chinese Cooking: Quick and Delicious Recipes from the Leann Chin Restaurants.