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Steamed Whole Tilapia

Steamed Wole Tilapia 1

It’s been ages since I last steamed a fish (years in fact). Today, I am steaming a whole Tilapia using a very popular Chinese method. It is quite simple but (and trust me on this one), you really want to try this recipe yourselves…


  • 1 Whole Tilapia;
  • 2 – 3 small Scallions;
  • 1 2½ inch piece of Ginger;
  • 1 Garlic Clove;
  • 1 small pinch of Red Pepper flakes;
  • 2 Tbsp. each of Rice Wine and Soy Sauce;
  • 4 Tbsp. light tasting Vegetable Oil.


Steamed Wole Tilapia 2

First, finely chop the garlic and about ½ inch of the ginger. Then slice the remaining ginger into fine slivers.


Steamed Wole Tilapia 3

Cut the scallions into 3 inch sections and then slice each of these into slivers like the ginger.


Steamed Wole Tilapia 4

Next, descale and gut the fish, rinsing it well inside, and then pull out the gills. Cut two slashes into each side.


Steamed Wole Tilapia 5

Scatter a little slivered ginger on to your steaming platter, and then splash a little rice wine and soy into the cavity of the fish. Sprinkle some of the chopped garlic and ginger into the cavity as well and put a little into the gill openings. Place the fish on top of the ginger slivers in the platter.


Steamed Wole Tilapia 6

You want to steam your fish at high heat for about 10 – 12 minutes. When the fish is done, transfer it to a serving platter, spooning over the juices from the steaming platter. Allow it to rest for a moment and, while you do this, heat the oil in a small pan until it just begins to smoke.


Steamed Wole Tilapia 7

For the final touch, scatter the remaining scallion and ginger slivers on top of the fish along with the red pepper flakes and then pour over the smoking oil. This will not only allow the scallion and ginger to release their aromas, the oil will give a nice sheen to the fish after being dulled by the steaming. I couldn’t photograph myself doing this last step but it sputters and steams beautifully and you may want to do this at the table if you are doing a larger fish for guests. Either way, get it to the table piping hot…



2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Hans Susser #

    Undoubtedly the best way to prep a whole fish 🙂
    Cheers !

    March 18, 2017
  2. Great job John. The steamer of yours looks in very good shape. I have a pair that have lived with me for 30 years. They are well battered and scorched. They still do their job. I must give this a go.

    March 19, 2017

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