Chinese Steamed Sea Bass with Soy Sauce and Sesame Oil

An easy dinner party spectacular by Sophie Grigson: a whole silvery Sea Bass, sizzling under a scattering of green spring onion and threads of red chilli
By Sophie Grigson
Chinese Steamed Sea Bass with Soy Sauce and Sesame Oil
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: easy



  • 1 sea bass, weighing 1-1.5 kg, cleaned and scaled but with the head on
  • 2 cm ginger, cut into fine matchsticks
  • 2 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, (mild to medium hot), deseeded and cut into fine threads
  • 4 spring onions, cut into fine threads
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 small handful roughly chopped coriander
  • black pepper


1. Trim the dorsal and side fins off the fish and season the stomach cavity lightly. Make three diagonal slashes across each side of the fish so that it cooks more easily.

2. Place the fish on a heatproof plate that will just fit into your steamer, allowing a little room around the edges so that the steam can circulate. If the fish is too big to curl up on the plate, cut it in half so that it will fit neatly.

3. Place the steamer over a pan of boiling water and put the plated fish in the basket. Cover the basket with a clean tea towel (making sure that the ends don't trail down on the hob and burst into flames), and then put the lid of the steamer firmly on top of that.

4. Steam for about 8-12 minutes, until the fish is just cooked through but no more.

5. Transfer the fish to a serving dish and sprinkle with ginger, garlic, chilli and spring onions.

6. Put the two oils quickly into a small saucepan and heat until smokes rises. Immediately pour over the fish and flavourings.

7. Drizzle on the soy sauce, scatter with coriander and rush the fish to the table.

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