Teochew Steamed Fish

Teochew steamed fish is a representation of what Teochew cuisine is all about - fresh, light and healthy. An easy steamed fish recipe consisting lots of vegetables with a flavourful balance of sourness and saltiness.

5 stars

Preparation 15 mins
Cooking 20 mins


潮州式蒸鱼, Chiuchow Steamed Fish, Fish Steamed with Pickled Plum and Vegetables

Malaysian, Singaporean

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Nutrition per Serving

393 kcal
26 g
26 g
17 g

Steamed fish recipes are very popular among the Chinese community. In fact, one of the top three recipes on Nyonya Cooking is the Cantonese steamed fish which garnered over 850,000 views. Steamed fish is so easy to prepare. Moreover, steaming is the best method to opt for in order to taste the freshness of the fish.

Teochew is actually a Chinese dialect. There are many Teochew recipes using seafood and vegetables. Generally, Teochew dishes do not use much seasoning as they rely on the freshness of the ingredients. Whether or not you are a “Teochew-nang” (people of the Teochew dialect), you will appreciate the natural sourness of the pickled plum and mustard green in this dish. A good selection of fresh tomatoes also enhances the sourness and sweetness of the gravy.

Types of fish to use

The key ingredient to this dish is, of course, fresh fish. In Singapore or Malaysia, white prompret is often used in this Teochew steamed fish recipe. I opted for seabass instead and it was a great match, too. Other white fleshed fishes such as cod, grouper, red snapper, trout or bream can also be used.

Sour and salty flavours

The other important ingredients which are needed to create the sourish and salty flavours in the gravy are pickled plums, pickled vegetables ('kiam chai or hum choi'), tomatoes and soy sauce. Pickled plums are usually sold in glass bottles at the grocers but it may be substituted with Japanese Ume, which is basically pickled plums too!

As for pickled vegetables, they are sold in vacuumed plastic packages. I was a little confused when faced with two different types of pickled vegetables. One of it is stated as sour pickled vegetables while the other is salted pickled vegetables. In case you are in the same predicament, just know that it is salted pickled vegetables which is needed in this recipe. These pickled ingredients added so many flavours to what could have been just a regular plain steamed fish and turned it into a dish worth mentioning.

Drizzle hot garlic oil

Besides all the fresh flavours, do add some really hot garlic oil onto the fish. This step is optional but I cannot resist adding spoonfuls of aromatic oil to the dish. Simply fry equally sliced garlic at medium heat until golden brown. Remove from the stove and immediately pour it onto the fish. This does not only improves the flavours because when the hot oil comes into contact with the skin of the steamed fish, the skin becomes slightly crispy. That is the final touch to make the dish perfect.

Steaming fish does not requires much effort. In fact, the cooking process only took 12 minutes and it was ready to be served. Personally, I definitely think this dish is great for Chinese New Year. For normal midweek dinners, this dish is perfect too as it is complete with lots of vegetables besides the fresh fish. Just serve together with warm rice.


90 g
pork belly
2 tsp
oyster sauce
2 tsp
light soy sauce
tofu (silken)
5 cm
40 g
preserved vegetables
salted chinese plum(s)
shiitake mushroom(s)
100 ml
mushroom water
1 tbsp
shaoxing wine
1 tbsp
sesame oil
1 tbsp
light soy sauce
2 tbsp
salted chinese plum juice
cherry tomatoes
garlic clove(s)
2 tbsp
fresh chilli (red)

Steps to Prepare

Teochew Steamed Fish Step 1

Step 1 of 6

Marinate pork belly with light soy sauce and oyster sauce for 5 minutes. Pan-fry pork belly at low heat until brown.

Teochew Steamed Fish Step 2

Step 2 of 6

    • 1⁄2 tofu (silken)
    • 2 cm ginger
    • 20 g preserved vegetables
    • 1 1⁄2 salted chinese plum(s)
    • 1 shiitake mushroom(s)
    • 1⁄2 scallions

On a plate, lay pan-fried pork belly, silken tofu, ginger slices and the lower part of the scallions. Add some preserved vegetables, salted Chinese plums and shiitake mushroom slices.

Teochew Steamed Fish Step 3

Step 3 of 6

    • 100 ml mushroom water
    • 1 tbsp shaoxing wine
    • 1 tbsp sesame oil
    • 1 tbsp light soy sauce

Deglaze pan used to fry pork belly at low heat with water from the soaked mushrooms. Add shaoxing wine, sesame oil and soy sauce. Stir well and set aside.

Teochew Steamed Fish Step 4

Step 4 of 6

    • 2 tbsp salted chinese plum juice
    • 5 cherry tomatoes
    • 1 shiitake mushroom(s)
    • 20 g preserved vegetables
    • 1 1⁄2 salted chinese plum(s)
    • 1 fish

Score the fish on both sides. Lightly rub the fish skin and flesh with some of the juice from salted preserved plums. Carefully lay fish on top of the ingredients on the plate and place the rest of the preserved vegetables, salted Chinese plums, mushroom slices and cherry tomatoes on the fish.

Teochew Steamed Fish Step 5

Step 5 of 6

Pour gravy from the deglazed pan onto fish. Steamed fish in a wok/pan for 12 minutes at high heat.

Teochew Steamed Fish Step 6

Step 6 of 6

    • 2 garlic clove(s)
    • 2 tbsp oil
    • 1 fresh chilli (red)
    • 1⁄2 scallions
    • 3 cm ginger

Fry garlic slices in oil over medium heat until golden brown. Pour garlic oil onto fish shortly before serving. Garnish with scallions, ginger and chillies. Serve with white rice.

Published: February 1, 2018

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