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Vietnamese steamed whole fish with ginger, scallions and soy

Updated: Nov 14, 2021

I always associated Vietnamese food with spicy cuisine, but this dish is completely mild and ever so flavorful. I have been eyeing this recipe for some time now and finally decided to make this one.

I am not a fan of ginger, one of my biggest inhibitions in making this dish. I like the flavor of ginger as a paste, but do not like binting into chunks of ginger in curries. I have however discovered mango ginger, a subspecies that is closer related to turmeric than ginger. It is a pale yellow and mild in flavor with a definite taste and smell of mangoes. I decided to use this instead of the harsher ginger.

This dish is defined by subtle flavors. The soft fish is beautifully scented by the mango ginger and the sesame oil. Together with the scallions, it is a light and refreshing dish, one that I could eat a lot of. I served this with simple brown rice to have something to soak up the sauce

This is a fabulous cookbook on Vietnamese cuisine from the chef and owner of the famed Slanted Door restaurant in San Francisco. The recipes are very authentic and every recipe I have cooked from it turns out amazing. I highly recommend this cookbook to those who want to ty and master Vietnamese cooking.

For more wonderful recipes from this cookbook, click here.


1 whole fish, (sea bass, red snapper, mullet, or plice) about 2-2 1/2 lbs, head removed and throughly washed and scored on both sides

1 tablespoon pepper

1 tablespoons salt

5X1 inch pieces ginger, thinly julienned

6-8 spring onions, greens and whites thinly sliced into 1 inch lengths

2 tablespoons rice wine

1/4 cup light soy sauce

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons toasted sesame seed oil

Cilantro sprigs

Rub the fish with the salt and pepper getting the mix into the cavity and into the scores on the sides. Marinate in the fridge for 1 hour.

Remove the fish and stuff half the ginger into the cavity. Add the rest on top of the fish. Put the fish on a plate and into a steamer, I used a small bowl and placed the plate on top of it. Fill with water, making sure the water does not touch the fish and the bowl is stable. Steam for 8-10 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. To check if the fish is done, insert a fork into the fish and see if you can lift the meat off the bones easily, if so the fish is cooked. Do not over steam as the fish can get tough and rubbery.

While the fish is steaming, mix the rice wine and soy sauce. Set aside.

Remove the fish carefully, keeping all the ginger, and place into a platter. Pour the soy sauce mix over the fish. Scatter the cut scallions over the fish.

Mix the oils in a small saucepan and heat till very hot, it will start to smoke. Pour the hot oil over the fish and scallions. The hot oil flash fried the scallions and the fish. Serve immediately.

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