Cantonese Style Steam Fish Recipe!


We have written an updated cantonese style steamed fish recipe. Check it out here!

Cantonese style steam fish is one of the simplest, quickest and tastiest ways to cook fish. The light steaming method results in a fish which is tender and moist and the resulting sauce is something that would make you want to eat more rice!  This recipe will work for codfish which is also known as chilean seabass or snowfish, garoupa, Asian Seabass (kim bak lor), snappers and most white flesh fish.

This steam fish recipe is great for beginner cooks as it is easy to make and results in a dish that is restaurant quality!

Many thanks to Chef Kang for sharing his recipe, which gave me a good base to further develop it!

Fish – Cod steak or fillet

Group A
Kikkoman Special Fragrance Soy Sauce 3 Tbsp
Maggie seasoning 1.5 Tbsp
Fish sauce 0.5 Tbsp
Water 300ml
Rock sugar 1 Tbsp
Coriander roots 3
Optional Tang Gui (1 small slice)

Group B 
Ginger 2 inch knob
Spring Onions 2
Chilli 1 (optional)
Coriander leaves

Special Note:
I like salt the fish before cooking.  This is not a classic Chinese technique but one that I borrowed from the Japanese.  The salt draws out excess water and firms up the flesh.  It also removes trimethylamine, the organic compound that causes fishiness.  For oily fish like cod, sprinkle salt liberally over both surface of the fish, leave for 20mins and then wash all the salt away and pat dry.  For lean fish, just salting for 10 mins is enough.


Add all the ingredients in Group A into a small pot and bring to a simmer for 15mins.  Taste and adjust to your own preference.


Slice ingredients in Group B


Wash the fish and pat dry.  If you feel that the fish odour may be a little strong (fish not so fresh), you can place some of the sliced ginger on top. Place on plate and steam for 8mins


Once cooked, pour some of the hot water over the fish to wash away any fishy odour.


Pour away the water.


Heat up 1 Tbsp of shallot oil or plain vegetable oil.  (You can prepare shallot oil by adding some sliced shallots in oil and slowly cooking it till the shallots brown.  The resulting oil is very fragrant and can be used for many dishes)


Place the garnish (except coriander leaves) on the fish and pour the hot oil over it.  You should hear it sizzle.


Heat up the sauce and pour over the fish.  Top with coriander leaves and serve immediately.

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Huh. You don’t steam the fish with the sauce? I didn’t know that.

Well, there you go!

Thanks for sharing this recipe. If you could answer a few questions that would be really helpful! Are you able to share a picture of which Kikkoman soy sauce you use? Also, do you use the same water used to steam the fish (water from the wok) to pour over the fish? Finally how do you julienne the spring onions so beautifully?

I like Kikkoman special fragrance. It usually comes in the smaller bottles and widely available. Yes, I use the water to pour over the fish. To slice the spring onions, just cut to length you want and then slice along the length of the spring onions. Soak in ice water to firm them up.

hi Leslie – thanks for sharing the recipe. You used 300ml water in the sauce. that looked like a big batch of sauce – did you mean to use up the whole batch of sauce of did you intend to keep some in fridge for next round? thank you

Yes, keep the extra in the fridge for future use!

Hi, i see in some recipes they add some sesame oil & shaoxing wine or just sesame oil to the Sauce which has sugar & soy sauce. Is this neccessary? Otherwise, a lot of recipes also pour a bit of shaoxing wine over the fish after salting it & marinate it awhile before steaming. What are ure recommendations? Btw, is ure sauce similar to the Lee Kum Kee Seasoned Soy Sauce for Seafood? Thanks if u can reply.

I think there is no fixed way of doing things. If you like the flavour of sesame oil, you can add a few drops. You can also salt and marinade your fish if you like. I am not sure how my sauce compares to Lee Kum Kee. In home cooking, the recipes serve as a reference. When you are making the sauce yourself, you can tweak it to your own taste. You can even start with LKK’s sauce and tweak it to your own liking.

Yeah I like the flavour of sesame oil i may add a bit. Normally i stick with a mix of Soy Sauce, Shaoxing Wine, Sesame Oil, Rock Sugar & a pinch of pepper. I’ll adjust & see how it tastes. I think the addition of Coriander Roots will help uplift the flavour. Thanks.

Btw, I tried it & the Flavour was really nice. Taste is quite similar to LKK Seafood Sauce (I had a Bottle in my Fridge for Comparison) but the Flavour is more Intense, not so Watered Down like LKK. The only changes I made was add 1 tbsp Sesame Oil cos I like a bit of Sesame Oil & some white Pepper. It didnt need the Shaoxing Wine. Complimemted the Steam Pomfret so well without masking the Freshness & Sweetness of the Fish. I used LKK Premium First Draw Dark Soy Sauce, I think it has a better flavour than Kikoman although that used to my favourite & a little less salty. I used Squid Brand Thai Fish Sauce. Glad i have some Sauce leftover, bet it will go well as a Dipping Sauce with steamed prawns too. Thanks a lot Doc! ?

Sounds great! Thanks for sharing!

Dr Leslie how long can u keep the sauce for in the fridge?

I think most chefs would say 1 week?

Oh no. I made mine about 13 days ago? Is it still ok to use? I put it in the fridge. Otherwise i will make a new batch.

Just bring it to a boil and it should be ok

Hope so. Fingers crossed! It won’t be contaminated right? Cos I don’t want the run the risk of spreading AGE or food poisoning. Better make a new batch?

If you are unsure, make a new batch!

Hello thanks for the recipe! Would you say that this recipe is safe for young toddlers, given there is maggie seasoning as one of the ingredients? Thanks!

Hello! Can I freeze the sauce in batches?

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