Steamed Whole Fish (without soy sauce)
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 12 mins
Total time: 32 mins
  • 1 to 1-1/2 pound fresh whole fish with head and tail (scales and guts removed)
  • 3 chopped scallions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger (can also be thinly sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 8 - 12 thinly sliced ginger medallions
  • 1 handful of cilantro on the stem (optional)
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon oil/fat
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon fish oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  1. Start your steamer. A steamer can be any pot with a secure lid and steaming grate. The pot must be bigger then the plate your fish will steam on. The lid must be secure enough to create a steam chamber to cook the fish.
  2. Fill the pot with water ½ inch higher then the grate. Heat the water on medium for your steamer and cover your pot. It needs to be boiling before you place the fish in.
  3. Rinse the fish and place on steaming plate with rounded corners.
  4. Prepare the marinade: Chop the scallions, ginger, and garlic. Slice the ginger medallions. Grab a handful of cilantro with the stems. Remove the leaves from the unused cilantro.
  5. Place the ginger medallions 1 inch apart on the top and bottom of the fish. The ginger will flavor the fish while steaming. Place at least one piece of ginger inside the fish.
  6. For additional flavor you can spread the handful of cilantro on top of the fish (optional).
  7. When the water in the steamer is boiling, turn the heat to low so the steam doesn't burn you and place the fish on the grate in the steamer. Make sure the water is touching the plate. This is the only way the fish will cook. Turn the heat to medium and put the lid on the pot.
  8. For a 1 lb fish, steam for 12 minutes, add 2 minutes for every additional ½ lb.
  9. When the fish is cooked, turn off the heat. You will know it is cooked when the skin has started to tear a little and the meat is exposed. Too much tearing is a sign the fish is overcooked. Crack the lid to release the steam and stop the cooking process.
  10. To prepare the hot oil marinade, in a small pot or pan, heat up the oil/fat on medium heat. When it is hot, put in the ginger and garlic. They should instantly sizzle when they hit the oil/fat. Let them flavor the oil/fat for 1-2 minutes and should not turn brown. Add in the coconut aminos, fish sauce and sesame oil and let simmer for another 1-2 minutes. Add the scallions, salt, white pepper and after 30 seconds, turn off the heat.
  11. Drain all of the liquid from the fish because it has a very fishy smell and taste. Remove the steamed ginger medallions and cilantro if you have it.
  12. Sprinkle the cilantro leaves (optional) on top of the fish and then use a spoon to scoop the hot oil marinade all over, including the inside of the fish. Remember to pour some marinade on the cheeks because it is the best meat on the fish. Serve immediately.
Recipe by The Dumpling Mama | Chrissy Jee at