Sunday, December 21, 2014

How to Cook Steamed Fish with Soy Sauce (Chinese Pan-To Style!)

When I was a kid, I hated going to huge family reunions. There were always too many people to hug, too many oldies to kiss, too many faces to smile at (and half of them I didn’t even recognize). It would always be held at these traditional Asian restaurants, with the big round tables and the intricate designs of dragons/peacocks/whatever symbols that signify good luck. And then there are the fish.

The live fish, swimming along in their little tanks in the corner, all happy-go-lucky and oblivious to the fact that they will soon be snatched up and served as delicacies in their short lives. Looking at them on the other side of the tanks as a little child, I felt a twinge of sadness in my heart.

Of course, over the years, I’ve come to love family reunions. Growing up, you realize that amidst all the challenges and trials you go through in life, there’s one thing that’s always constant—family. And all these smiling faces gathered together just prove to me how wonderful it feels to have a tight group of people who will always love you no matter what.

And the fish—the innocent and ultimately doomed fish—have now found a place not just in my heart, but in my stomach. I just love the taste of steamed fish with light soy sauce served up in these restos.

My photography skills are a disgrace. But the fish is good---promise!

Unfortunately, I do not have enough money to keep dining in fancy restaurants just to get a taste of that elusive fish. So, despite my amateur kitchen status, I’ve decided to learn how to make them at home.

How to Cook Steamed Fish (Simple, Can’t-Mess-It-Up-Because-I’m-A-Noob Version!)

  • Whole fish, cleaned, head and tail intact (preferably lapu-lapu, or maybe other types of white fish like flounder and maya maya)
  • Leeks
  • Chopped ginger
  • Sweet soy sauce
  • Sugar

1. Place the whole fish on a steamer. My father-in-law likes to wrap the fish in a banana leaf sometimes, but since I try to be as simple as I possibly can, I skip it (oops). Steam the fish for 12 minutes.

2. While the fish is steaming, grab some leeks and a pin. Yes, a pin. Those pins with cute multicolored round heads? Yup. A neat trick is to use the pin to sort of run them across the leeks, resulting in a flowery garnish design for your plate of fish later. My father-in-law is a genius.
How cute are those leeks-flowery thingies?
3. Mix about 4 tablespoons of sweet Chinese soy sauce with a teaspoon of sugar. If you don’t have the sweet soy sauce, you can add more sugar until the sauce is to your liking. Add your chopped ginger to the sauce.

4. When the fish is done, plop it in a long plate, sprinkle your flowery leeks, and pour in the sauce. And you’re done! Seriously, I can’t mess this up. J


  1. Did you and your father-in-law cook together?? May garnish pa ah :P

    1. I asked for instructions. Hahaha! I fear cooking with him, but I will overcome that fear someday. Someday.... ~(*.*~)

  2. So when do we get to taste this?!?! :))

  3. So when do we get to taste this?!? :))

    1. We should have a cooking party!!! Hahaha:p


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