In many Chinese families, steamed fish are always listed top of their most cooked recipes. Steamed fish with ginger and spring onions is one of the easiest and best steamed fish recipe available. There are many reasons why steaming the fish is preferred over other methods of cooking. Firstly, it is much healthier and secondly, most of the nutrients of the fish are retained. Ensure that the fish is fresh, of course!
Tips for authentic gravy
The main flavour to the gravy is the soy sauce and the hint of sweetness which comes along with it. Using Chinese light soy sauce would be the best. Additionally, the gravy is sweetened with rock sugar as it is very subtle in sweetness. Although you may substitute it with regular sugar, the sweetness of the rock sugar goes well with this steamed fish gravy.
What type of fish should I steam?
In the video, I used Seabass but if you prefer other types of fishes, I would recommend that you choose white fish like cod, grouper or bream. Fishes like salmon can be used but it does have a stronger taste to it.
Steaming fish fillet instead
Instead of steaming the whole fish, you may use fish fillet which will work just the same. I enjoy using thick cod fillet which works well with all steamed fish recipes such as Cantonese steamed fish or Teochew steamed fish.
Is there a non-alcoholic substitute for Shaoxing wine?
Unfortunately, there is none. 'Shaoxing' wine is added for its sweetness. While most would use some apple juice as a substitute, I strongly advise against it. Apple juice will spoil the taste of the dish, making it slightly tart in taste. If you do not want to have alcohol in this recipe, simply omit it as the main flavour in the gravy comes from the soy sauce.
Why is fish served during Chinese New Year?
It is considered auspicious to have fish served during the reunion dinner, which takes place a day before Chinese New Year as the pronunciation of fish in Chinese (“Yu”) sounds similar to the word surplus. Hence, having a whole fish to begin the year signifies the start of a new year with surplus and abundance.
Despite being a fairly easy dish to prepare, the flesh of the fish will be tough if it is steamed for too long. Depending on the size and thickness of the fish, steaming a fish normally takes around 15 to 20 minutes.