Steamed Fish with Ginger and Soy Sauce

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Steamed Fish with Ginger, Scallion and Soy Sauce is a restaurant-quality dish you can easily cook at home in just 30 minutes. Serve this light yet flavorful dish with rice for a healthy and delicious meal.

a plate of steamed fish with soy sauce, ginger, scallion, onion and carrot. Serve with rice

You can come across this dish in a lot of cuisines, such as Chinese cuisine and Vietnamese cuisine. I think Vietnamese-style steamed fish is quite similar to Chinese steamed fish with soy sauce.

In Vietnam, we call this dish “cá hấp xì dầu” or “cá hấp hành gừng“. The fish is steamed with a savory sauce and different types of julienned aromatics and veggies which provide aromas, colors and textures. Once cooked, the fish is moist and juicy and lightly coated with the fragrant sauce.

Recipe Video

You can watch the video below to see how to prepare ingredients and put together the dish.

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Best Type of Fish for Steaming

Personally, I like to use fish with white flesh and mildly sweet taste for this dish. My most favorite is grouper, which I’m using in the photos as well in the video.

Other types of fish you can steam are red snapper, halibut, and cod. Not white fish, but salmon surprisingly works well in this steamed fish recipe as long as it is not overcooked.

What is Better, Steamed Whole Fish or Steamed Fish Fillets?

Most Asian restaurants use whole fish since it looks impressive and tastes wonderful, but you will need a big steamer basket and a big plate to cook it. In addition, serving steamed whole fish can be difficult because of all the bones. Also, when serving just 2-3 people, a whole fish may be too much food.

As for me, I like to use fish fillets with skin when making this cá hấp recipe at home. It cooks really quick and serving it is so easy. I can also freely choose a fish fillet as big or as small as I need. It’s up to you whether you’d like to use whole fish or fish fillets.

Other Ingredients

To make the fish taste and smell great, you will need ginger, garlic, onion, scallions, soy sauce and sesame oil. I also like to add julienned carrots for more colors.

a plate with julienned ginger, carrots, scallions and onion

Some Vietnamese cooks like to add thinly sliced dried shiitake mushrooms that have been rehydrated. The dried mushrooms will add an earthy note to the dish which does make it more interesting.

How to Steam Fish

This steamed fish recipe is very quick and easy to cook at home. The most time-consuming part is slicing all the aromatics and veggies thinly. I strongly recommend watching the video to see how to julienne them (especially the scallions) quickly.

A step that should not be skipped is briefly simmering the sauce before steaming. It really makes a difference by bringing out the aromas and flavors.

A plate of steamed fish with soy sauce, julienned ginger, scallions, onion and carrots

To steam the fish, you will need a steamer basket or a pot with a steamer insert. If you enjoy Asian food, it’s nice to have one in your kitchen to make not just steamed fish, but other dishes such as sticky rice, squid, and tofu.

I cover the fish during the first half of the steaming process to prevent water condensation drop from the lid onto the fish, which can dilute the flavors. The julienned aromatics and veggies are added during the second half so that once we finish, they will have a nice crisp-tender texture.

You can find detailed cooking instructions in the recipe card below. Please note that you may need to adjust cooking time depending on how large and how thick your fish is.

I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.

a steamed fish fillet with soy sauce, ginger, scallion, onion and carrot

Steamed Fish with Ginger and Soy Sauce

Steamed Fish with Ginger, Scallion and Soy Sauce is a restaurant-quality dish you can easily cook at home in just 30 minutes. Serve this light yet flavorful dish with rice for a healthy and delicious meal.
Author: Sophie
4.38 from 16 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 people

Ingredients
 

For the Fish

  • 12-14 oz fish fillet with white flesh (skin-on)
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2-inch piece of ginger, julienned
  • 4-5 scallion stalks, cut into short sections, then julienned/shredded
  • 1 small onion, very thinly sliced (or half a medium onion)
  • half a medium carrot, julienned

For the Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 small shallots, minced (optional)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (optional, to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Place the fish in a shallow plate that can be used for steaming. Massage it with sesame oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Peel and julienne ginger and veggies as well as mince garlic, shallots and a small amount of ginger.
  • Place a small pot over medium heat and add olive oil. Once the oil is heated, add minced shallots and garlic, stir and cook until fragrant. Then add minced ginger, also stir and cook briefly until fragrant. Pour soy sauce into the pot, add black pepper and 1/8 teaspoon of salt (to taste), stir and simmer for a few seconds. Transfer the sauce to a bowl.
  • Prepare your steamer. Arrange all the julienned ginger, onion and carrots over the fish. Cover the plate of fish with foil and place inside the steamer and cook for 8-9 minutes.
  • Open the lid of the steamer, then remove the foil from the plate. Pour the sauce over the fish fillet, then top with julienned scallions. Put the steamer lid back on (no need to cover the plate with foil this time), and continue to steam for another 4-6 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.
  • Serve hot with rice. You can garnish with some cilantro if desired.

Video

Notes

My most favorite fish for steaming is grouper. Other types of fish you can use are red snapper, halibut, and cod. Not white fish, but salmon also works extremely well for this recipe.
You can also steam a whole fish. Some things to note are you will need a big steamer basket and a big plate to cook it. In addition, serving steamed whole fish can be difficult due to all the bones. When cooking steamed fish at home, my family prefers fish fillets.
If you want the veggies to be on the soft side, you can scatter the ginger, onion and carrot over the fish right from Step 4. Otherwise, they can be added in Step 5 along with the sauce.
Some Vietnamese cooks like to add thinly sliced dried shiitake mushrooms that have been rehydrated. It does add an interesting earthy note.
Simmering the sauce on the stove before pouring over the fish (Step 3) brings out more aromas and flavors. With that said, when I’m short on time, I sometimes skip this step and just drizzle the soy sauce directly over the fish. The result is still pretty tasty.
You may need to adjust cooking time depending on the thickness of your fish. It usually takes me about 12 minutes to steam a 1-inch thick (or slightly more) fish fillet.

Nutrition

Calories: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 534mg | Potassium: 744mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 239IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Chinese, Vietnamese
Keyword: ca hap hanh gung, ca hap xi dau, steamed fish
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15 Comments

  1. I didn’t see mention of this but would frozen fish work? I have a large side filet of striped bass (I think that would be an appropriate fish). I would definitely have to cut it in half (or even 4ths) but I don’t want to waste it if it wouldn’t be appropriate for this. It wasn’t cheap!

    1. Hi Sue,
      Sorry about my late response. I have made steamed fish with frozen fillets of salmon, cod, and grouper before, however I have never made it with striped bass. The dish tastes okay with seabass (barramundi), but not as great as with grouper or salmon in my opinion. When using frozen fillets, I will make sure to let the fish thaw completely. How good this dish turns out will depend a lot on the quality of the fish, for example, has it been frozen for a long time or does it have freezer burn.

  2. 5 stars
    This is an excellent recipe. The sauce is particularly good. I thinned it out slightly with some water. I loved it!

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve made this several times. It is wonderful. The only thing I do different is pan sauce the fish. Once that’s cooked I put the julienned veggies in the same pan and cover with a lid for a couple of minutes. I love it and so does my husband. Great recipe. Dinner guest worthy!

  4. 4 stars
    Simple & quick recipe, I did with Indian salmon – came out really good.
    Initially I was sceptical about salt but then followed the instructions, same for steaming time.
    This is my first steam fish recipe trial

  5. 5 stars
    Made this tonight. Absolutely delicious. Will definitely be having again. I was hesitant with the plate and foil in steamer but the plate is needed for when adding the sauce. I chose chunky haddock loin which was cooked perfectly. The foil, coupled with the veg steamed on top after made for a perfectly cooked fish which was so tasty. I chose to have with salad potatoes instead of rice. A definite winner. Thank you for sharing the recipe

    1. Hi Jan,
      Thank you so much for trying the recipe and giving me the feedback! Ahh, haddock… it’s been quite a while since I last ate it. I’m glad it turned out tasty for you. I usually eat this dish with rice, but sometimes we also make fresh spring rolls with it.

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