Cooking with Chris Chung – Steamed Fish

Cooking with Chris Chung – Steamed Fish


Hi, I’m Chris. Today I’m going to show you how to steam fish. Steam fish is always the centerpiece at a Chinese banquet. In order to do it correctly and with flair, for some people, it may take years and years of practice. But do not fear, I will teach you some simple tricks today. The preparation I will show you is the standard Cantonese steam fish technique, which is quite versatile, good for both sea and fresh water fish. Thorny Heads or Idiot Fish is another type of rock fish. Because of its red color, it is considered auspicious and will bring good luck. These fish reside in rocks on the ocean floor, where oxygen is scarce. They remain motionless so that they do not have to breathe constantly. Our commercial fisherman friend, John, caught these beautiful rock fish. John fishes sustainably, only keeping mature fish that reach a certain length. You can buy live rock fish at most Asian seafood markets. Ask your fish monger to scale and gut your fish, including removing the gills. What I’ll do next is to trim off the fins and make 3 incisions over here. This is to facilitate better steaming. When handling fish with spiny fins, be careful not to hurt yourself. Before you prepare your ingredients, start boiling your water. Use a steamer. My steamer has 2 layers. The steam from the bottom layer will cook the fish on the top. My steam fish has 3 parts, the garnish, the aromatics, and the sauce. For my garnish I use green onions and red jalapeños. Cut both length and soak them in cold water so that they will curl up nicely. Next, slice and dice ginger and Chinese chives. Do not forget your chopped garlic and shallots. They are all part of your aromatics and will provide extra flavors to your dish. Now we mix the sauce. The base is a chicken broth. You can be very creative with your seasonings. I like mirin, Shaoxing or rice wine, white sesame oil, dark sesame oil and fish sauce. Saute aromatics with oil in a cast iron skillet until fragrant. Be careful not burn them. Heat your sauce and then add soy sauce to taste. Before you do it, rub some salt on to the fish. When the water is boiling, put the fish in and cover the steamer. This fish is close to 4 pounds. The steaming time is about 15 – 20 minutes. If your fish is smaller, reduce your steaming time. When the fish is done, the skin will change color. The 3 slits that you made earlier, can also tell you if your fish is cooked. Transfer your cooked fish to a platter. Pour the hot sauce over the fish. Spoon in the aromatics and garnish. My steam fish is crowd pleaser and John agrees. Thank you watching. I hope you try this delicious and impressive dish at home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *