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Steamed Whole Seabass · 蒸全鱼

Fish is commonly prepared whole in a lot of Chinese seafood dishes. The striking appearance, along with the flavors of the different parts of the fish, is a delicate, but impressionable, way to prepare whole fish. While this dish looks complicated, preparation is so easy and simple, and always satisfying!

Basic info:

  • nut-free
  • gluten-free
  • refined sugar-free
  • paleo
  • keto
  • Yield: 2 servings
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes


  • 1 whole fish, about 1lb (453g)*
  • 3 stalks scallions
  • nub of ginger, roughly half the size of your palm
  • soy sauce
  • a handful of cilantro stalks
  • cooking oil with high-smoke point (I used avocado oil)
  • 1 pack firm tofu, drained and cubed (optional)


  1. Julienne the ginger and scallions.
  2. Place the fish in a steam-proof pan.
  3. Top the fish with the ginger and scallions, and stuff some into the cavity.
  4. Optional: add cubed tofu in the pan, around the fish.
  5. Douse the fish and tofu with soy sauce.
  6. Steam the fish for 8 minutes.**
  7. Remove fish from steam, and top with cilantro.
  8. Heat oil until it begins to shimmer.
  9. Pour the hot oil over the fish to finish.
  10. Serve immediately with rice.***

Recipe Notes:

  • I look for black bass or seabass, as their delicate flesh cooks wonderfully with this recipe. I normally buy the fish at a Chinese supermarket, where there’s a wide selection of live seafood that the fishmonger can clean and scale for you when you purchase.
  • 8 minutes is for a 1lb fish, but you may need 10 minutes for a 1.2 lb fish, or 13 minutes for a 1.5 lb fish. The fish is fully cooked when the flesh is opaque and flakes easily from the bone. If it’s not done, you can steam it for another few minutes.
  • I love spooning the sauce and scallions from this dish onto my rice to eat with the fish.
  • Simmer any leftover sauce with tofu for a quick and easy bite.