Teochew Steamed Fish Recipe (潮州式清蒸鱼)


Steamed fish recipe is one of my go to weeknight dish – it’s quick, healthy and nutritious. I grew up eating Steamed Fish Teochew style almost every day, as mama is of Teochew descent. Teochew (or Chaozhou) people are native to the eastern Guangdong province of China and Teochew cuisine offers a lot of healthy steamed, stir-fried and braised dishes. Using whole fish with tomatoes, salted vegetables and salted plums, the flavours of Teochew Steamed Fish are savoury, sour, spicy and altogether very appetising.

I’ve been wanting to do a post on Steamed Fish for ages. You see, I always avoid buying whole fish as I don’t like eating the gill parts and fish head. Mama always clean out the whole fish that you wouldn’t even recognise what dish it is. Hence I felt it’s a waste to throw the edible parts away, so I usually buy only fish cutlets, which is not so pretty to photograph.

When I found  fishmongers in Kepong are selling freshly caught fish from Kuala Selangor, this Siakap (Seabass) fish is perfect for my photo. This steamed fish dish was specially prepared by my elder sister with an addition of hot garlic oil. I’m grateful she was very patient with me taking the food preparation photos. When the fish was hot out of the wok, she became very restless because steamed fish taste best hot. Luckily the few quick shots turn out to be decent.

Seafood is charged a premium item when you eat out, and even though steamed fish is a very simple dish compared to many other dishes. If you do it at home, not only is it cost saving (this Siakap costs me RM12 from the market, and other ingredients only adds up to about RM2), steaming fish is really easy and the clean up is minimal.

This recipe is submitted to Muhibbah Malaysian Monday hosted by 3hungrytummies for July 2012 round-up.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Teochew Steamed Fish Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Quick & Nutritious Teochew Steamed Fish
Serves: 3-4
  • 1 medium Whole Fish (such as seabass/white pompret/garoupa) – I ask the fishmonger to clean it for me
  • 1 inch Ginger - thinly sliced strips
  • 1-2 medium Tomato - cut to small wedges
  • 2 Dry Shiitake Mushrooms - soaked in water & sliced thinly
  • 80g salted vegetables - sliced thinly about 1cm
  • 2 Salted Plums (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
  • 2 tablespoon Water (adjust according to your preference)
  • Spring onions (scallions) - sliced thinly to wispy strips to garnish (optional)
Garlic Oil (Optional)
  • 2 clove Garlic - finely chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoon Cooking Oil
  1. Make two diagonal cuts along the body of the fish (the fleshy part) on both sides. Place fish in a heatproof plate (most porcelain plates are heatproof). Add water and scatter the rest of the ingredients (ginger strips, salted plums, tomatoes, remaining salted vegetables & mushrooms) over the fish and around the plate. Drizzle light soy sauce over the fish.
  2. Bring the water in the steamer/wok to a boil, then place the fish to steam on high heat for 10-15 minutes. Note: The bigger the fish, the longer it takes . Do not over-steam as the meat will become tough.
  3. When the fish is ready, drizzle garlic oil (Optional) and garnish with spring onions. Serve immediately with rice.
Garlic Oil (Optional)
  1. Heat cooking oil in a small pot and bring to boiling hot. Place chopped garlic in a small bowl and pour boiling hot oil over the garlic. The oil will sizzle when poured over the garlic.


  1. Your ingredients look great. Add some soft tofu to the ingredient should be better. Better to cut butterfly the fish and salt it for steaming 2 to 3 mins. After that discard the fish fishy water, then only add in all the ingredients for steaming the remaining time. This exercise may take a little more work.

  2. Oh! I know that recipe! My mom used to cook that before. I actually learned Teochew steamed fish recipe from my mom. The recipe is the same but she prefer to add scrambled eggs on the dish. 🙂

  3. This is an absolutely gorgeous dish Shannon! The flavors are just delightful!
    Magic of Spice recently posted..What’s for breakfast? Summer Veggie Frittata SandwichMy Profile

  4. Oh Shannon! This looks incredible! I love steamed fish, in fact that’s all I’ve had for 2 weeks. Wish I had chanced upon your recipe earlier! Will give it a try soon.
    Baker Street recently posted..Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream #SundaySupperMy Profile

  5. Steamed fish is my favourite dish too. As you mentioned, quick and easy to prepare and cleaned up too. The cost for a homemade version is incredibly cheaper too. Your steamed fish is definitely better than the one served in the restaurant. 🙂
    food-4tots recently posted..Gluten-free Brown Rice, Quinoa and Seeds CrackersMy Profile

    • Thanks for your compliments, I have to add that anyone’s steamed fish prepared at home is easily better than the one served in restaurant 😀

  6. Mouthwatering. I just love fish. Healthy and tasty at the same time. 🙂

  7. Love it! I happened to have a pomfret, perfect to use with ur recipe!

  8. oh wow, it’s almost to pretty to eat! Looks so yummy!
    colorissue.blogspot.com (come on over and follow along…I think you’ll enjoy the colorful inspiration!)

  9. This looks lovely, Shannon! I love steamed fish done any way. And you’re right about taking pics of them … haha! I haven’t a single fish post yet! Hubby will have my head (instead of the fishhead) if he were to eat cold steamed fish … even I, for that matter hate eating cold fish.

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