Joyce's Open Kitchen, literally

Cantonese-style Soy Sauce Steamed Fish


Serves: 4-6


  1. 1 fresh fish 
  2. 4-5 slices of ginger
  3. 1 stalk spring onions / scallions (cut into 2″ length, and then sliced into thin silken threads)
  4. 1-2 stalk of Chinese parsley (cut into 2″ length) 
  5. 2 tablespoons cooking oil & then 1 teaspoon more
  6. 2 dashes of pepper
  7. Pinch of salt

Ingredients for sauce:

  1. 4 cloves of garlic, chopped very finely 
  2. 3 or 4 pieces of those smallish rock sugar
  3. 5 tablespoons hot water
  4. 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
  5. 2 tablespoons shaoxing wine or rice wine
  6. 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  7. 3 dashes white pepper powder



Clean the fish properly (remove scales, guts, gills, etc.) and pat dry. Rub pepper & salt all over the fish. Place fish on a plate and spread the slices of ginger all over the surface of the fish. Set aside. 

Add rock sugar and hot water into a small bowl. Stir for a while so that sugar dissolve partially in orderto reduce cooking time later on. With the exception of the chopped garlic, add in the rest of the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.

Prepare wok for steaming fish. Put in the fish only when water is boiling. Depending on the size of the fish, steam for 10 – 15 minutes.


As soon as the fish is done steaming, transfer it out from the wok. Discard the any water in itand ginger slices.

Heat up a saucepan over high heat and add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil, swirl around until it’s slightly smoking hot. Pour the hot oil over the steamed fish. Put the pan back onto the stove, add 1 teaspoon of cooking oil. Reduce heat to medium. Add chopped garlic and once fragrant (around 10-15 seconds), add in the soy sauce mixture and stir well. Increase heat to high. 

On the other hand, sprinkle spring onions & chinese parsley over fish. Back to the sauce: Stir until rock sugar all totally dissolved and sauce is bubbling. Pour the sauce over the fish. Serve immediately. 

Adapted from: