Friday, October 19, 2012

Canto Style Steamed Red Grouper (清蒸红石斑)

I love this big and beautiful fish!

I got this really fresh red grouper from Chinatown wet market. About 680grams, and it cost me S$13.00 after bargaining. Not bad!

Oh yes! Do take note that the price for Red Grouper and Greasy Grouper (Greyish color) is different. Greasy Grouper is cheaper than Red Grouper. Red Grouper price may vary depends on season. According to the fish monger, the price can be as cheap as S$18.00 per kg or it can be upto S$25 per kg or more.

This recipe won't looks any special, but if you've got really fresh fish from the market and wanted to consume it on the same day, this is the best and simple way to cook your fish. It is ordinary steamed fish with soy sauce and shallot oil. We called it canto style, which means we just steam it without adding much condiment in there. Just the basic ingredients. This, also usually known as 清蒸 in chinese. I always recognise this method of steaming as hong kong style steamed fish. It is the same to me. Haha..

  • 680g Red Grouper
  • 2 tsp salt - To rub on the fish, 1 tsp at each side.
  • 4 thick slices of ginger
  • 1 sprig Spring Onion, cut into 6 inch length
For the sauce
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Shao Xing Wine
  • 1 tsp crushed Rock Sugar (or just ordinary fine sugar)
  • a dash of pepper
  • 2 tbsp Shallot Oil (1 shallot + 1 tbsp cooking oil)
For garnishing
  • 1 sprig spring Onion, cut diagonally in 2 inch length
  • 3 slices of ginger, julienned
  • some coriander (Optional)
  • some julienned chillies (Optional)
  1. Clean fish, pat dry. Rub 1 tsp salt at each side of the fish. Rub some into the stomach too. And then, put a piece of ginger into the stomach.
  2. On a steaming dish, place the 6 inch length spring onion, followed by 3 slices of ginger. And then, place the fish on top.
  3. Use a small sauce bowl, mix all the sauce ingredient together, except shallot oil.
  4. Bring water in the steamer to a boil. Place the whole bowl of sauce beside the fish, steam fish over high heat for 11 minutes.
  5. While the fish is steaming, prepare your shallot oil by frying 1 shallot with a tablespoon of oil. You can add more oil if you want. Don't leave it there, keep an eye on it and don't burnt it.
  6. Remove fish from the steamer, pour away the steaming liquid.
  7. Pour the sauce on the fish, and then pour the shallot oil over.
  8. Garnish, and serve!

Step 4 : Separate steaming method - the fish and the sauce are separated, but steam together.


1. This is a big fish with thick flesh. So, rub some salt on it would get rid of fishy smell, and gives better flavour. The amount of soya sauce won't give enough saltiness to the dish in overall.

2. Adding spring onion and ginger underneath is to provide ventilation to the underside of the fish and also gives better flavour to the dish in overall. But please try to use a plate that has flatter base. Don't use the one like mine. Mine is more like a bowl that has quite a deep bottom. And for photo appearance, it doesn't looks that good. When I put ginger and spring onion underneath, when I pour the sauce over, the sauce also hiding underneath. And by looking at the photo, it looks way too little sauce for my fish! Darn!

3. I use separate steaming method this time. This method is widely used by chefs at chinese restaurant. Separated the fish and the sauce, but steam them together. I will be able to discard the excessive steaming liquid. Like that, the flavour of the sauce will not get affected, and the sauce will not turn cloudy. Looks better in appearance. But if you are steaming cod fish fillet, you don't have to spearate the steaming. Because fresh cod fish has it's unexplicable sweetness, even the excessive liquid gives you really good flavour.

4. Rock sugar is not easy to melt. You have to ensure rock sugar is finely crushed before using. If not, just use normal fine sugar. But of course, if you go around and ask fellow chinese chefs, they will tell you rock sugar really taste different with the fish.

5. I steamed my fish for 11 minutes this time, because this is 680 grams of big fish. Do adjust your own steaming time based on the fish size. Refer to here for fish steaming time. Oversteam your fish is the last thing you wanna do. You won't want to achieve chewy and hard fish flesh. If your fish is cold (just out of the fridge), add another minute for steaming.

Ok... I'm too lengthy. I know. I should stop. Hehe...

The fresh meat that is so tender and smooth. The sauce is sweet, salty, and it's just umami!!! Red Grouper is my 2nd favorite fish. Cod fish comes 1st of course. But with the price of Cod fish, I don't always get to enjoy such luxury. I think with Red Grouper, I'm very contented :)


Enjoy the freshest fish in a simple way, probably the best of all :)

Do visit my other steamed fish recipes too :)

Prosperity Steamed Cod (富贵鳕鱼)

Hong Kong Style Steamed Cod Fish (港蒸鳕鱼)


  1. Simple and good! I learnt quite a lot from your notes. I am not good at cooking seafood :( The separate steaming method is very clever. If I can find a nice fish, I wanna try this!

  2. Manyak senang, masak ikan dan sos sama sama, kekekeke.
    Normally I steam the fish, cook the sauce,and pour over, hehehe.
    Banyak mau basuh.

  3. Wow simply drolling looks steamed sunu grouper...
    f you think that is big, you should come to Indonesia girl,
    we have a lot of HELL GIANT grouper, up to 8 kg each..
    even the tast is not as good as 700 gr to 1,8 kg...
    the best is about 1,2 kg for my licking..

  4. I didn't know that you can use white porcelain plate to steam fish. My family always use the metal plate but it is not so nice looking.

    May I ask do you need to marinate the fish before hand?

  5. Looks great gonna try this but isn't it a waste to dispose the "juice" from the steamed fish? I am assuming a lot of the nutrition is in that "juice"