Adapted from Omnivore's Cookbook

Whole Steamed Fish

Image of Whole Steamed Fish
  1. Before cooking, wash the fish thoroughly and drain. Place the fish in a mesh colander at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until completely dry.
  2. Place a quarter of the green onions on a plate large enough to hold the entire fish. The green onions will hold the fish so it won’t stick to the plate when cooked.
  3. Stuff ginger slices and a quarter of the green onions (white part) into the cavity of the fish. Rub both sides of the fish with sesame oil. Cover the fish with another quarter of the green onions. Pour** Shaoxing wine** over the fish.
  4. In a steamer, add half an inch of water and place a steaming basket down on top. Cover and bring water to a boil over high heat. Carefully place the plate holding the fish onto the steaming basket, cover and steam over high heat for 5 to 8 minutes, until you can easily pull the flesh from the bone with a fork. Stop heat immediately.
  5. Carefully use a spatula to transfer the fish to another large plate. Use chopsticks to remove the ginger and green onion from inside and above the fish, and discard the used ginger and onion.
  6. Spread the remaining ginger strips and green onions on top of the fish and set aside. Make sure the soy sauce is ready beside the fish.
  7. In a wok or small skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. When the oil is warm, break chili peppers and add them, with the Sichuan peppercorns, into the oil. Stir with a spatula until fragrant, about 40 seconds. Turn to lowest heat, carefully use a ladle to scoop out the chili pepper and peppercorn, and discard them. Immediately use a ladle to drizzle the hot oil over the fish. You should hear the sizzling of the oil when it touches the fish. Immediately pour the soy sauce onto the fish.
  • 20 ounces head-on sea bass, tilapia, flounder, or other fish with white flesh, scaled, gutted
  • 1 and 1/2 pieces thumb sized ginger, 1 thumb sliced, 1/2 thumb julienned
  • 1 cup green onion, chopped 2.5 inches in length
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 dried chili peppers
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce