Speedy Steamed Fish with Ginger

Like so many fish dishes, this is a very quick dish to make. It’s lovely with a salad and some steamed rice.

From pantry to plate, this dish only takes 30 minutes to prepare.

I have a collection of enamel plates that are perfect for this dish and other steaming recipes. Enamel plates are sold in fancy kitchenware shops but I have found they are often available in op shops.

Serves: 2


  • 400g whole bream or other fish, scaled and cleaned
  • salt, to taste
  • a 4cm piece ginger, peeled
  • 6 spring onions
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese Shao Hsing wine, mirin or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons peanut oil


Rub the fish inside and out with salt. Rinse and pat dry thoroughly with kitchen paper. Using a sharp knife, score the fish by making two deep slashes in the thickest part of the fish each side of the backbone.

Thinly slice the ginger lengthwise, then cut these into matchstick pieces. Trim the spring onions and cut into four cm lengths, then finely slice lengthwise. Mix the ginger, spring onion and garlic in a bowl.

Mix the soy sauce, wine and sesame oil in another bowl.

Place a wok over medium heat and pour in water to come one-third up the sides. Sit a bamboo steamer basket over the water with its lid in place. Wait for the water to come to a boil and for the steam to rise through the slits in the basket.

Choose a heatproof plate that will fit inside the steamer and leave room for the steam to come through. Put the fish on the plate and scatter over the ginger, spring onion and garlic. Drizzle over the soy mixture. Put the plate into the steamer, then cover with the lid and steam for 10 minutes.

Carefully remove the lid – watch out for steam – and test to see if a fine skewer will slip through to the backbone of the fish without resistance, and that the flesh is pearly-white. Carefully lift out the plate (it will be very hot – I find kitchen tongs a safe way to do this) and transfer the fish and its juices to a warmed platter.

Quickly heat the peanut oil in a small frying pan to very hot and pour over the fish to crisp the skin a little.

Serve with steamed rice.

Tip: A single fish fillet or two fillets arranged side by side in the steamer will cook in about five minutes.

Recipe taken from The Cook’s Apprentice by Stephanie Alexander.
The Cook’s Apprentice
is the essential teaching cookbook for the younger cook who’s just starting out. This wonderful book is full to the brim with everything new foodies need to know to become relaxed and confident in the kitchen.

Arranged alphabetically, The Cook’s Apprentice includes 56 ingredient chapters – from Apples to Zucchini – and more than 300 achievable recipes ranging from classics that every cook will want to try, to exciting new dishes that reflect our diverse nation. Stephanie takes you into her kitchen as she explains more than 100 important techniques in straightforward language, discusses the kitchen tools she likes to use, and describes ingredients you might not know: How do I whisk eggs to soft peaks? What does it mean to ‘make a well’ in dry ingredients? Why should I roast spices? How do I prepare fresh chillies safely? What is ‘resting meat’ and why should I do it? How do I prepare a mango? What flavours work well together? What is fresh mozzarella? How do I say ‘quinoa’?

The Cook’s Apprentice gives all new cooks the inspiration they need for a lifetime of enjoyment in the kitchen.

You can purchase The Cook’s Apprentice at penguin.com.au

Published by Penguin Books Australia. 

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