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Steamed Sea Bass ((清蒸魚)

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Category: Steamed Dish
Region: Cantonese


  • 2 lbs. sea bass (whole)

For steaming

  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine (紹興料酒)
  • 4 slices fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper


  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing cooking wine (紹興料酒)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil


  • 1/4 cup fresh ginger finely julienned
  • 1/4 cup fresh scallion finely julienned
  • 4 sprigs of cilantro


  • You can substitute sea bass with other type of fish of similar size, but do not use overly flakey fish. Ask the fishmonger to clean and scale the fish but leave the tail and fins on. Before cooking use the back of a knife and scrap off any stray scales especially on the head and belly.
  • Slash the body of the fish diagonally at three places an inch apart on both sides. Place the fish on an oval plate. Spread one tablespoon each of Shaoxing cooking wine and shredded ginger, plus 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper on top of the fish. Let stand for about 15 minutes.
  • Heat about 5 cups of water in a wok over high heat and put a wire rack over it. Steam the fish on the rack with a cover when water started boiling. Steam for about 15 minutes or until the flesh on the body comes off easily from the bones.
  • While the fish is steaming combine the soy sauce, Shaoxing wine and sugar in a bowl and set aside for use as a sauce. Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan until just about smoking stage. When the fish is ready remove the plate from the wok using a plate lifter. Pour the soy sauce mixture all over the fish, and then pour the hot oil as well. Be very careful when you pour the hot oil as it will splatter.
  • Garnish the fish with the shredded ginger, shredded scallion, and cilantro. Be sure not to skip the garnish, as it is part of the flavoring for the completed dish.