Steamed Whole Fish (with Cleaning Tip) | Christine's Recipes: Easy Chinese Recipes | Delicious Recipes

Steamed Whole Fish (with Cleaning Tip)

by · 18 comments
Over the past few days, I got a cold and soar throat. It’s not very serious, only with a bit of dizziness while standing or walking because of a minor infection in my left inner ear. My appetite was affected, still loved to do cooking in my kitchen. Needless to say, the easiest and simplest dishes were my first choice.

Suddenly realized that I haven’t steamed live fish for a while. In Brisbane, we don’t have many choices though. Silver perch is quite easily found in a nearby Asian grocery store. Quickly, I decided to have a steamed fish dish to sooth my soar throat. This is a traditional Chinese way of steaming a whole fish, simple and easy, and that provides with enough proteins for my family. The staff nearly did all the cleaning job for me. So I didn’t need to spend a long time in the kitchen for preparation and cooking.

If you have tried live silver perch, you might notice there’s something like slippery gel on the fish skin. Many people don’t bother it at all, but I’m not quite into it as I feel the slippery stuff quite nasty. Water can’t wash it away easily. Gladly, there’s a very simple trick to get rid of the slippery, nasty thing away.

Steamed Silver Perch01

Steamed Whole Fish - Silver Perch (Printable recipe)

  • 1 live silver perch, about 405 gm
  • a pinch salt
  • a pinch pepper
  • 2 tbsp ginger, shredded
  • a handful spring onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp hot oil, for dressing
  • a dash light soy sauce, for dressing
  1. Clean and remove all the guts inside the fish. You must have noticed most live fish that live in lakes or pounds, including silver perch, have slippery gel on their skins. It’s quite hard to wash it away with water. Here’s a simple trick: Rub salt on the both sides of the fish, then rinse with running water. Repeat this step if necessary. The slippery gel would be much easier to be removed. Wash and wipe inside and out with paper towels to dry well. Trim the fins if desired. Season salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. Place the fish on a big plate. Season with salt and pepper on the both sides and inside, topped with shredded ginger and half of the chopped spring onion.
  3. Heat water in a wok/steamer until you see steam releasing. Place the fish in wok and steam the fish over high heat for about 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Test with a chopstick inserted into the thickest part, the flesh near the top fin. If the chopstick easily gets through, the fish is cooked. Otherwise, add more cooking time, about 1 to 2 minutes. (Note: The cooking time depends on the thickness of your fish. Make sure there’s enough water for steaming. Or replenish water if necessary.)
  4. When the fish is done, carefully lift the plate up and discard all/part of the fish sauce in the plate. Turn off the heat. Then put back in the wok, sprinkle the rest of spring onion, cover. In the meantime, heat up about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. When smoke arises, pour the hot oil over the fish. Drizzle with soy sauce, or served with any dipping sauce you like.

Steamed Silver Perch02

Other recipes of steaming fish:


  1. I love steam fish when is serving hot, dipping with the sauce, yummy :)

  2. Love steamed fish!! Hope you get better soon!

  3. Oh! Use salt! Good tip. And please get well soon :)

  4. Oh dear, so sorry to hear you are not feeling well. I hope you recover soon. Guess you need the right food and more rest. Thanks very much for sharing such a mouth-watering steam fish and the cleaning tips. It's quite a long time I have not steamed fish. I have to do it soon.

  5. All of a sudden, I feel like eating steamed fish again! The deliciousness of this fish gave me that urge. Yes, I use salt to clean fish too - if I get them whole and fresh from the fishmonger.

  6. yum!! Steamed fish is a fav dish of mine

  7. Steamed fish is something that my family always order every time we go to a Chinese restaurant. I didn't like it when I was younger but now I do appreciate its light texture and especially because it's a somehow low calorie yet delicious meal!

  8. Simple, healthy yet delicious - that's the goodness of steamed fish!

  9. Love the steamed fish...I was the one who usually finished the fish head when my mum made the steamed fish.
    Thanks for sharing the tips too.

  10. I love steamed fish. I usually put tomatoes, onions, garlic, salt & pepper, and ginger. It's delicious and healthy at the same time. Plus, you can make this in less than 30 mins.

  11. Instead of salt rub, our family submerges the cleaned fish in boiling water left over from blanching veggies. Remove the fish when the skin looks grayed over, but before the skin peels off.

  12. A gorgeous steamed fish! I hope you feel better soon!

  13. Take care and get well soon!
    I love steaming live fish in a similar way, it is just delicious and great to go with rice.

  14. I love steamed fish. It's so light yet yummy!

  15. Thanks for the tip! I hate cleaning fish esp descaling it =(

  16. I love fish prepared this way...unfortunately my husband is I just have it in the restaurant...yours look so yummie!

  17. steamed fish is one of my favourites, yours look fabulous with the sauce and garnishing. Thanks for the tip about rubbing salt too... I will try it out next time when I handing this species :p

  18. Steamed fish with ginger and spring onions is one of my favourite preparations - so healthy and yummy - and thanks to your tips - really easy to prepare! I am surprised Chinese restaurants can charge so much for this dish!