Steamed Fish

Steamed whole fish is a special dish that my family likes to eat when we’re dining out but we rarely make it at home. During the birthday celebration of my Aunt, I included this in the menu. The recipe I’m sharing is based on the dish that I used to enjoy in a Chinese restaurant in Phnom Penh. My other reference is the recipe of my classmate in graduate school. Yield is 4-6 servings as part of a multi-course meal.

Steamed Fish


  • 1 whole fish (Lapu-Lapu), about 750 grams, cleaned with head and tail intact
  • 1/4 cup julienned fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced leeks
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
  • about 1 tbsp water
  • Salt and White pepper
  • Sprigs of Wansoy or Cilantro
  • 1/2 cup Canola oil



  1. Put water in the steamer pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Rinse the fish under running cold water then pat dry. Season the fish inside and out with salt and white pepper. Put the fish on a heat-proof plate that will also fit on a steamer basket. Stuff half of the ginger inside the cavity of the fish and spread the remaining on top of the fish.
  3. Steam the fish for 20-25 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.
  4. While the fish is steaming, mix the soy sauce, cooking wine, and water in a bowl. Set aside.
  5. When the fish is ready,  carefully remove the plate from the steamer and pour off any liquid. Lay the leeks and wansoy or cilantro on top of the fish. Pour the soy sauce mixture over the fish.
  6. Just before serving, heat the canola oil on a small pan until it is very hot but not smoking. Remove from heat and pour directly over the fish.


  • Whole fish for steaming can be cleaned in the market or supermarket. I bought the fish at SM Supermarket and I just told the guy at the fish counter that the fish will be steamed and he prepped the fish accordingly.
  • Other white-fleshed fish can be used. In fact, my classmate’s recipe was intended for Tilapia.
  • You can mix a bit of sesame oil to the canola oil for a more fragrant dish.

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