Teochew Steam Fish (潮州清蒸鱼)

Being Teochew, we have steam fish frequently on our dining table when I was growing up. When we go to a Teochew restaurant, it is also a must have item on the menu. I think Teochews have perfected the art of steam fish! 😉 It is so fresh, tasty, and healthy. However, EK does not eat seafood, and I do not prepare it often. Chinese New Year is the only time he does not frown upon the fish when it is presented at the dining table. Eating fish during Chinese New Year symbolizes plenty of surplus year after year (年年有余),so the more fish the merrier!😊.

Live fish is the best for steaming. During Chinese New Year, fish is in high demand, so hit the store early on the day you plan to steam fish. I learned my lesson this year as there was only one live fish left by the time I got to the store just before dinner. For my 14″ wok that I use as a steamer, a 1-lb fish is about the right size. A bigger fish will be hard to fit in the wok.

There are also many different types of salted vegetables. For steam fish, you want to get the ones that are salty and sour. My favorite is 潮州咸酸菜。

I happen to find soy sauce for steam fish this year, so I used this instead of the regular soy sauce.

The tastiest part of this dish is the sauce. The best way to eat steam fish is to drizzle the sauce over hot jasmine rice, and enjoy it with the fish and all the supporting casts of mushrooms, salted vege, and tomatoes. It is oh so good!


  • ~ 1+ lb fish. Cleaned, scales, and gills removed
  • 9 slices of ginger
  • 1/2 cup sliced salted vegetables
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • a handful of heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • two salted plums
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce for steam fish
  • 5 Tbsp water
  • cilantro and sliced green onions for garnish


  1. Arrange a bed of three slices of ginger, 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms, and 1/4 cup sliced salted vegetables on the bottom of a platter that you will use to steam and serve the fish.
  2. Stuff 3 more slices of ginger in to the fish stomach.
  3. Place the fish on the bed of mushrooms and salted vegetable.
  4. Arrange the salted plums and tomatoes around the fish.
  5. Scatter the remaining mushrooms, salted vegetables, and ginger over the fish.
  6. Sprinkle the soy sauce and water over the fish.
  7. Cover with cling wrap and keep the fish in the refrigerator until 15 minutes before serving. Steam fish is best served piping hot. You want to steam it only when you are about ready to eat.
  8. Prepare the steamer. I use a 14″ wok. Fill it with some water and bring it to a rapid boil with a metal stand to hold the fish platter. The water should not fully cover the stand.
  9. When water is boiling, remove the fish from the refrigerator and remove the cling wrap.
  10. Place the platter on the metal stand and cover the wok.
  11. Steam for 12 minutes.
  12. Remove from the steamer.
  13. Garnish with cilantro and green onions and serve hot with jasmine rice.

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