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Cantonese Steamed Fish

Cantonese Steamed Fish Recipe

This Cantonese steamed fish recipe can not only bring you luck but it is also heart healthy.

Happy Lunar New Year!

Did you know that there are seven lucky foods that can be eaten during the Chinese New Year? Each of these seven foods has a different symbolic meaning. Fish is one of the seven lucky foods and can be one of the healthiest. It is said that if steamed fish is eaten during the Lunar New Year festival season it will bring you an increase of prosperity in the new year.

This Cantonese steamed fish recipe can not only bring you luck but it is also heart healthy. Steamed fish is a low calorie protein that keeps you fuller for longer without adding high fat content. Steaming the fish helps it retain its vitamins and minerals that you can lose when frying or searing. It is also packed with omega 3 fatty acids which drastically improves cardiovascular health.



  • 2 scallions
  • Fresh ginger, about 2 tablespoons julienned
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon or soy sauce or to make it gluten free use Tamari
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (skip if using full sodium soy sauce or Tamari)
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil(a great heart-healthy alternative to other oils)
  • 1 medium fresh not frozen: tilapia, grey sole, flounder or fluke filet

If you’d like to closely follow Chinese tradition buy a whole fish with the head and tail intact. This is said to keep away any bad luck that could occur between the beginning and end of the year.

Items you’ll need for steaming:

  • A saucepan or wok
  • A heatproof plate
  • A rack or something (like an empty tuna can) that can be used to hold up your heatproof plate in your saucepan or wok
  • The lid for your saucepan
  • A butter knife to check fish for doneness


  1. Wash and julienne the scallion and ginger and set aside.
  2. Wash and roughly chop the cilantro and set that aside as well.
  3. Next, combine the soy sauce or Tamari, salt (only if using low sodium soy sauce), sugar, and water into a small bowl and mix well to combine.
  4. Next you will need to steam your fish and there are different ways to do this.
    1. We suggest you fill your saucepan with about an inch of water and cover and bring it to a boil.
    2. Place a rack or something to hold your heatproof plate above the boiling water.
    3. Carefully place your heatproof plate onto the rack and cover for 10 minutes to steam.
    4. You can check it’s doneness with a butter knife. If it easily cuts through to the bottom of the plate then the fish is done or if its temperature reaches 145F.
    5. Turn off the heat and carefully take the plate with your steamed fish out of the saucepan.
  5. Transfer steamed fish to a serving dish and top with your cilantro and a 1/3 of your scallions.
  6. Drain your saucepan of the water you used to steam the fish and add your olive oil.
  7. Set your stove to medium high heat and cook your ginger in the olive oil until lightly browned (about a minute).
  8. Then add the rest of your scallions. The mixture should be sizzling and fragrant.
  9. Next add your soy mixture to the sauce pain and keep the heat on medium high.
  10. Cook until scallions are wilted (about 30 seconds.)
  11. Take the sauce off the heat and spoon the entire mixture over the fish.
  12. Serve immediately and enjoy!

We wish you a lucky and healthy new year! For more ideas on how to enjoy your favorite foods prepared with healthy ingredients, consult a dietitian for free through our Health Library and Resource Center. Personalized thirty-minute sessions are available in English and Mandarin.