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Steamed Fish Cantonese Style | FreshNess
Steamed Fish Cantonese Style | Freshnessgf.com

Steamed Fish Cantonese Style

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Steamed Fish Cantonese Style | Freshnessgf.com

I love fish but I don’t cook it as often as I’d like.   I don’t know about you but buying fish has gotten complicated – farmed, wild, organic, sashimi grade, flash frozen, sustainable.  Like I just want fish.  But I just avoid buying it more often because I’m confused.  So when I do buy fish, I try to get it from somewhere that cares a lot about fish, where it comes from, and how it affects our planet.

Fish from HookedFor me, that local spot is called Hooked in Kensington Market in Toronto that’s run by chefs.  They are really crazy knowledgeable about fish, sustainability, and good eating.  We ended up getting the ling cod that was in season and it ended up being crazy good.  (PS  There are a few Hooked locations around town).

hooked signhooked front sign

This recipe is something that my family grew up eating all the time.  It was staple in our Chinese household, often done with a whole fish from the non-sustainable Asian grocery store.  It was dead simple, super fast, delicious, and we loved it.  If you ask any first generation Chinese-Canadian, and they will probably tell you the same thing.  Every family has their own way of doing it – even my mom and I cook it a little differently.


If you’ve ever been to a traditional ten course Chinese wedding banquet, you’ve probably had this fish too.  It’s typically done with a huge fish and served family style in the middle of the table.  This dish is simple enough for a weeknight staple AND fancy enough for a wedding.  Who would’ve thought?

steamed fish ingredients

Other than the fish, ginger, and green onions, it’s a pantry dish, made with a small handful of ingredients you likely have on hand. Because this dish is done in a steamer, it’s basically a hands-off cooking type dish.  While it’s steaming, you have time to whip up some vegetables and make some rice.     

Steamed Fish prepared

You can use any firm white fish, sustainable or not, that’s up to you.  I’m not pushing you one way or another.  We do a bit of both in our house to quite honest.  We do the best we can, as often as possible, and whatever that is for you, that’s just fine by me.  I hope you enjoy making this recipe that after you make only once, you probably won’t even need the recipe to make it again.  It’s so easy, fast, and tasty, it’ll have you hooked.

Steamed Fish Cantonese Style

Steamed Fish Cantonese Style (adapted from Complete Chinese Cookbook by Ken Hom)

(Serves 3 to 4)


  • 1 lb cod
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon finely shredded fresh ginger
  • 3 stalks thinly sliced green onion
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons tamari gluten free soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon canola or other neutral oil
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • Coriander leaves for garnish

Special Equipment: Steamer


  1. Pat fish dry with paper towels and sprinkle salt evenly over the fish and set aside for 30 minutes in the fridge.  This helps firm up the fish and draws out excess moisture.
  2. Set up the steamer.  Add a large sauce pan with about 2 inches of water and bring to boil.  Put the fish in a heatproof dish and scatter the ginger over top, spreading it out evenly.  Next, add half the green onions on top.  Lower the plate into the steamer, cover, and place over the pot of boiling water.   Gently steam the fish for about 1o to 12 minutes until fish is just cooked.
  3. Remove the fish from the steamer and sprinkle with remaining green onions and soy sauce.  In a small saucepan, add canola oil and sesame oil and heat until hot and smoking.  Pour the hot oil over the fish and garnish with coriander leaves.  Serve hot and steaming with rice.

Steamed fish empty plate

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