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Steamed Fish or Steamed Fish with Clams

This is one of the recipes from Mrs Susie. If you want to find out more about her have a look at her biography page which she has written. Mrs Susie specialises in Oriental cooking. An important first step in Oriental cooking (which I think is important) is at the end of each recipe.

"This is a favorite dish of my family, and this is very easy to prepare. I have even served this dish after being prepared on a cook stove while camping. The fish doesn't get much fresher than this.

To the Chinese, a fish without the head and tail looks incomplete. This is why they like to cook the whole fish. There is little waste, too, when you cook them whole because you can pick out all the tender nibbles from around the cheeks and tails - which are considered the choicest morsels - and enjoy picking the bones clean.

Unless you catch your own fish or live near an area where seafood is abundant, whole fish may be hard to find. Even Chinese restaurants list their fish specialties on an 'available' basis. But you don't need the whole fish to enjoy the fine method of steaming fish. What is more important is to use the freshest fish available, even if the freshest fish is frozen, and stop the cooking before the fish is overdone.

If you eat with chopsticks, you can dip each bite in the delicious sauce before popping it into your mouth. But if you eat this with a fork, you will want to spoon a little of the sauce and garnish over your fish before you eat it


1 whole fish about 1 to 2 lb. (e.g. rockfish, red snapper, kingfish, bass, perch, or bluegills)
1 piece of fresh ginger about 2" long, cut into matchstick pieces
3 green onions, cut into matchstick pieces about 2" long
1/4 cup peanut oil
2 tbs. soy sauce


Clean and scale whole fish. This is one time you want to be picky about all the scales being removed especially around head.

  • While holding tail, make 3 horizontal cuts, on each side evenly spaced, just to the backbone at a slight angle.
  • Place on a heat proof platter or dish that will fit inside a steamer.
  • Cut ginger into match stick pieces and sprinkle over fish.
  • Cut green onions into matchstick pieces and add to top of fish.
  • Place plate on rack in steamer basket.
  • Cover and steam over boiling water until fish flakes on thickest part of fish, 8 - 10 minutes for a small fish or fillets, 10 - 12 minutes for a 1 1/2 lb fish and 16 - 18 minutes for a 2 1/2 lb fish.
  • While fish is steaming, heat oil slowly in a small pan until it is hot but not smoking.
  • Remove hot dish with fish from steamer and tip slightly to remove cooking liquids.
  • Pour soy sauce on top of fish slowly, and pour hot oil over fish just before serving.*
  • For easy serving, slide a second plate under hot one before serving.

When you add the hot oil to the fish, it makes the flavors of the ginger, green onions and soy sauce sink into fish to give it an especially delicious flavor. Be sure to spoon some of the sauce over your portion of the fish.

Steamed Fish with Clams

  • With a brush, scrub about 1 dozen small clams in the shell. They should be tightly closed before you buy them and cook them.
  • Follow the directions for steamed fish, but arrange clams on dish around fish just before steaming.
  • Cook clams until the shells open (about 8 minutes).
  • If you steam a large fish which requires longer cooking, remove clams after they open, and continue steaming fish until finished, then return them to the serving plate after you have drained cooking liquid from the fish.
  • Prepare sauce as stated above, being sure to spoon a little of the sauce in the clams before serving.

Mrs Susie

"I have studied oriental cooking quite a bit and the one thing that makes it different from other styles of cooking is: it is 90% preparation and 10% cooking. It is very important to have everything in the recipe already prepared for cooking before you start cooking.

I take a plate and cut up my ingredients as called for in the recipe and place them on different parts of the plate. Only then do I think about cooking. I will put my oil in the pan and, as the things are called for in the recipe, I will sweep them into whatever pan I am cooking with, cook for as long as called for, then add the next ingredient.

Oriental cooking happens so fast. To stop and cut up the garlic (for example) if I had the ginger cooking in the pan would result in burnt ginger before the garlic is finished.

When I am cooking a ten or fifteen course dinner you should see my kitchen. I have plates all over and all my sauces mixed in bowls and everything is ready to cook before I start cooking. This is the right way to do it and necessary to have a well-timed dinner.

Another thing, get yourself a good cleaver that will not rust. You will be surprised how much you will use this for all your cooking, not just oriental cooking. Do yourself a favor and get a good one. I think I paid $20 for mine but again that was 20 years ago".