Teresa Sabga
Active time
40 Mins
Total time
40 Mins
4 servings

In traditional Cantonese cooking, steaming is the preferred method to bring out the sweetness of fresh fish. And while a whole fish is more traditional, we've opted for quick-cooking fillets here. Tender, silky grouper is ideal for steaming, but other white fish like mahi mahi, red snapper, halibut, and cod work for this recipe, too. 

Whatever you do, don’t skip the final steps: Pouring smoking hot oil over raw ginger and chives is completely dramatic. Upon contact, the aromatics sizzle and release their fragrances. The oil then pools at the bottom of the plate with the soy sauce, sesame oil, and fish juices, creating a beautiful sauce for the coconut rice.

How to Make It

Combine coconut milk, water, and ginger in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and stir in rice. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 17 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. 

Season the fish with sesame oil, half the ginger, and white pepper. Place on a heat-safe plate.

Fill a wok or large stir-fry pan with water and bring to a boil. Place a small, heat-safe bowl upside down in the bottom of the wok and place the plate containing the fish on top of the bowl. (Be careful putting the dishes in the boiling water! Use tongs to avoid burning yourself.) The water should be below the plate. 

Cover and steam the fish for 10 minutes. Test readiness with the tip of a dull butter knife. Gently pierce the thickest part of the filet; if the fish flakes easily, it’s done.

Heat a pan over high heat and add the canola oil, swirling it around until it gets hot.

As soon as the fish is ready, transfer it to a serving dish alongside the rice. Sprinkle chives and remaining ginger over the fish and very carefully pour the hot oil on top. Let it crackle and sizzle.

Drizzle soy sauce around the edges of the dish. Serve immediately.

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