Chinese steamed fish

Other than making Ottolenghi recipes, I swear I actually cook other things too. This has been one of my favourite dishes that I grew up eating. My mom always says that she could happily eat steamed fish, rice and stir fried greens everyday. This is the dish she is talking about and I’m happy to share the recipe with you as I periodically crave the simplicity of this dish as well.

You could use any flaky white fish for this recipe like lingcod or Pacific cod (halibut may be a bit too dense), but my favourite to use is sablefish (also known as black cod) because of the high fat content – it makes for a silky, melt-in-your-mouth experience that contrasts well with the chewiness of rice and the crunchiness of your stir-fried greens. I served this with snow pea tips sauteed in garlic.

For this recipe, you will need some specific equipment. I got most of this at T&T and Daiso.

  • Large deep pan or flat-bottomed wok with lid
  • Wire steamer rack to fit at the bottom of wok
  • Heat-proof plate or shallow dish that fits in wok with the lid closed
  • Plate tongs to facilitate removal of plate from hot wok


  • 1 fillet of sablefish
  • Ginger, sliced
  • Green onions
  • Canola or grapeseed oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Soy sauce


  • Fill your wok with a couple inches of water, place the wire steamer rack at the bottom of the wok, and cover with a lid. Turn to medium heat.
  • While the water is heating, pat your sablefish fillet dry and salt both sides. As a note here – do not remove the pin bones from your fillet at this point. Sablefish bones are firmly anchored and you will rip the delicate fillet trying to pull them out. Wait till the fillet is cooked, and they will easily come out. Place the fillet on a bed of sliced ginger on a plate, and cover with more sliced ginger.
  • When the water is gently bubbling, place your plate of fish and ginger onto the wire rack and cover. Steam for about 10 minutes.
  • While the fish is steaming, heat a small pot with about 4/5 part canola oil and 1/5 part sesame oil. You don’t need too much, I’d say only about half a cup total. Heat this up on medium heat, watching closely to make sure it starts smoking LIGHTLY but before anything catches fire!
  • Chop your green onions on a bias.
  • When the fillet is done, remove from the hot wok using plate tongs. Do not pour off the liquid that has accumulated on the plate. Drizzle with some soy sauce, sprinkle generously with chopped green onion, and finally take your sizzling hot sesame oil mixture and pour over top.
  • Enjoy with plenty of rice to soak up the delicious sauce.

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