• Steamed Fish with Black Bean Sauce

    5 votes
    Steamed Fish with Black Bean Sauce
    Prep: 15 min Cook: 10 min Servings: 4
    by Nancy Miyasaki
    193 recipes
    This is one of the recipes I remember most fondly from my childhood. It's a Chinese dish, and I'm of Japanese heritage, so my mom used a large fish fillet as opposed to a whole fish. I know it's probably delicious both ways, but this is a bit easier on the eyes! Season the fish just before cooking...don't marinate...or the fish will lose it's juiciness.


    • Large fish fillet(s) 1 to 2.5 pounds (I used steelhead trout. Red snapper, sole or flounder would also work)
    • The amounts below are appropriate for 1 pound of fish, scale up if you prepare more
    • 1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 2 teaspoons Chinese dried black beans (dul see)
    • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
    • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
    • 3/4 sesame oil
    • 3/4 teaspoon Shao Hsing rice cooking wine
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 1 tablespoon finely shredded ginger
    • 1 scallion, shredded into 1.5 inch long pieces (green onion)
    • 1 tablespoon thin soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro


    1. Thoroughly rinse the fish in cold water and pat dry. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt over the outside of the fish.
    2. Rinse the black beans in several changes of cold water and drain them. In a small bowl, mash beans, garlic, and sugar with the back of a wooden spoon. Stir in sesame oil, rice wine, pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
    3. Mix all ingredients, except scallion and cilantro, and spread 1/3 of the mixture on the bottom of an 8 inch or other Pyrex or other heat proof dish. Place the fish in the dish, then cover the remaining 2/3 of the sauce. Top the fish with the scallions.
    4. Bring water to a boil over high heat in a covered steamer large enough to fit the dish without touching the sides of the steamer. Carefully place dish into steamer, cover, and steam 5 minutes. Since I don't have a large steamer but do have a Wok, I created a steamer by putting four chopsticks into my wok, two parallel about 3 inches apart and the other two perpendicular to these also about 3 inches apart. Then I filled water up to just under the chopsticks and placed the dish on top of the chopsticks. This is a handy technique for steaming if you have a wok with a lid. Once the water was boiling I placed the fish in and steamed for 5 minutes.
    5. Turn off heat and let stand, covered, 4 minutes. Test fish for doneness by poking the thickest part with a fork or chopstick; flesh should flake. If not, resteam for 1 to 2 minutes or until fish just flakes.
    6. Sprinkle the chopped cilantro over the fish and serve. Spoon a spoonful of the sauce in the dish over the fist for optimal flavor.

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    • John Spottiswood
      John Spottiswood
      This is a classic Chinese recipe that always tastes wonderful. It's even more flavorful with a whole fish, but a bit more work.
      • Michele Grason
        Michele Grason
        I used a jar of black bean sauce because I was in a hurry and it worked pretty well. I added the ginger, green onions, cilantro and sesame oil to the black bean sauce. Very flavorful!

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