Friday, July 27, 2012

Hong Kong Style Steamed Cod Fish (港蒸鳕鱼)

By just reading the name of this dish, you knew it is healthy and absolutely delicious.

The ultra fresh, sweet, clear consistency, and the fish is so tender and smooth. And the umami sauce! Wosh!!!

Max always tells me how he loves steamed cod fish. But..... Hello? Who don't? This 1 inch thick cod steak cost me S$20 ok?! Say me stingy, but to me, eating fresh steamed cod is a luxury. So, I don't buy cod fish often, because in Singapore, it cost about S$50 to $55 per kg here.

You do not need excessive seasoning or heavy garnishing for fresh cod. Fresh cod itself taste really good. Rich with Omega 3. And well, there must be a reason why this fish is so expensive. Right?

I topped some crisped fried garlic and some spring onions after the steamed fish is done. And you may embellish further with some red chili julliened and maybe coriander for colorful presentation. It's up to you.

Now, let's start cooking...

  • 1 thick slice of Fresh Cod Fish Steak (About 1 inch thick)
  • 2 slices Ginger 
  • a dash of pepper
For the Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp Rock Sugar (You could use normal sugar if you don't have rock sugar)
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • 1 tbsp Hsao Xing Wine 
For Garnishing
  • 3 bulbs of garlic, finely chopped.
  • 1 tbsp Cooking Oil
  • some spring onions, cut into 1 inch length

  1. Clean fish, pat dry. Place ginger on a steaming dish, place fish on top.
  2. Bring water in the steamer to a boil and steam fish over high heat for 6 minutes. 
  3. While the fish is steaming half way, heat sauce ingredient in a pot and bring to a boil.
  4. Remove fish from the steamer, pour away the steaming liquid .
  5. Add a dash of pepper and drizzle sauce over.
  6. Fry chopped garlic with oil in another pan until golden brown. Don't burnt it.
  7. Pour the hot garlic oil over, garnish with golden brown garlic and spring onions. Serve!
Note 1 :  The purpose of ginger (or sometimes we used spring onions) slides under the plate is to provide ventilation to the underside of the fish and or avoiding the skin sticking on the plate. But of course, it gives better flavor to the dish in whole.

Note 2 : There is a delicate balance between perfectly cooked fish and overcooked fish. First of all, remember the principle of residual heat. A pan will hold heat when it's removed from the heat source, continuing to cook the food for several minutes. For best results, cook fish until it is almost done, then remove the pan from the stove. Let it stand for about 1 or 2 minutes before serving. I know, waiting is really torturing.

The criteria we go with is that the meat still has a tinge of red but the meat comes off the bone easily with chopsticks or a fork. If the meat sticks to the bone then it is under cooked  If you overcooked your fish, the texture will turn harder and not as tender as what you expect. Different fish size requires different steaming time. I'm not sure about others, but to me, my fish steamed nicely according to below timing. Fish must be in room temperature.
  • 400g Fish = 6 to 7 minutes
  • 450g Fish = 7 to 8 minutes
  • 500g Fish = 8 to 9 minutes
  • 600g Fish = 9 to 10 minutes
If you are steaming a whole fish that has thicker body, you probably would wanna steam it slight longer. Like, another minute or so. But if you are steaming fish steak like I did, no need.

There are a ton of different variations on how to do a proper steamed fish, and as long as your fish is not overcooked, I think they’re all wonderful.

This recipe is simple and absolutely delicious. Cooking fish at home isn't difficult. If you wanted to make your home-cooked fish more perfect, it just requires a little knowledge.

You don't have to live near the ocean to enjoy fresh fish. We have it there near the wet market. And you don't have to go to the restaurant and pay high price to enjoy this scrumptious fish dish. You can do it at home! :D

You know what? I drizzle the sauce over my bowl of hot Koshihikari rice, and I can eat half bowl of rice just like that. It's simply umami! It's awesome!

Do visit my other steamed fish recipes too :)

Prosperity Steamed Cod (富贵鳕鱼)

Canto Style Steamed Red Grouper (清蒸红石斑)

This post has been featured in Asian Food Channel (AFC) Facebook

And Asia Food Recipe


  1. My hubby always asks me to buy this, but I am to stingy to cook this often.
    Very very expensive, but nice, hahaha.

  2. I also... With that small portion of fish, i think it is really too expensive. Hahaha...

  3. My children love this fish, me too. I got this fish from a frozen food dealer, cheaper than from the supermarket:)

  4. Hi yummylittlecook, but steaming wise, usually, use fresh one is better. Frozen one's usually good for pan-frying :)

  5. This is an awesome recipe! The fried crispy garlic goes very well with the sauce and really enhances the sweetness of the cod fish. And best of all, its so easy to prepare. 2 thumbs up! :D

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  7. Nice dish. I just bought a cod fish and will try to steam tonight. But can I use Huadiao wine instead of Shaoxing wine?

    1. Hi, Hua Diao wine and Shao Xing wine is the same thing. "Hua Diao" is the name of the wine. "Shao Xing" is the place of origin. Don't worry, just use :)

  8. thanks for sharing your recipe here, i tried it for the first time with a bit of modification and came out well! :)

  9. lovely, excellent dish for romantic evening!

  10. Hi!

    In another blog post, you mentioned that when we steam cod fish fillet, it is ok to leave the steaming liquid. So I just wanna ask if it is ok to just add in the sauce to the steaming liquid for this dish?

  11. It looks and sounds delicious! Thank you so much for sharing.