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Steamed Whole Sea Bass

When it comes to Asian cuisine, steamed whole fish is a classic. This recipe comes from our friend, Marie Daniels, a home cook whose culinary influences stem from her Filipino upbringing and frequent travels throughout Baja California. Follow her adventures at


  • 1 whole, fresh striped bass, goldspotted sand bass or similar sized fish, cleaned, gilled and gutted (a reputable fishmonger can do this for you)
  • Salt
  • White pepper
  • Fresh ginger, finely julienned – about as much as the width of your thumb, 2″ – 3″ long, and 3 large chunks
  • 6 green onions (finely julienne the green and white parts of four onions and set aside; roughly chop the other two)
  • 1 handful of fresh, roughly chopped, cilantro
  • 1/4 cup of sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce


  1. Prep all your ingredients.
  2. Rinse your fresh fish under cold water, pat dry.
  3. Insert a quarter of the fresh cilantro, julienned onion and greens and a few thick ginger chunks into the cavity of the fish.
  4. Prepare your steamer by bringing two cups of water to boil in the bottom of pot, placing the steamer insert inside and covering with a lid.
  5. Arrange the chunks of ginger and roughly chopped green onions onto a plate that will fit into your steamer. Lay your fish on top of the ginger and green onions so that the steam can venture under your fish too.
  6. Sprinkle another quarter of your cilantro, julienned green onions and ginger slices on top of the fish.
  7. Remove the lid of the steamer and put the plate into the steamer and cover immediately.
  8. Cook the fish for 15 minutes and check to see if it is opaque in color. If it is not opaque, it is not done. Continue to cook the fish in 3 minute increments and check again.
  9. Lift the plate slightly, allowing the juices and excess waters to drain off the plate.
  10. Once done, push the wilted greens off the fish and distribute remaining fresh cilantro and green onions over the fish. At this time, you can carefully move the fish to a serving platter if you like but BE CAREFUL. The fish can easily fall apart once cooked.
  11. Add the sugar and soy sauce to the water, quickly simmer and then pour over the fish.
  12. In the same pot, heat the sesame oil and remaining ginger over medium heat. Once the ginger is slightly fried and the oil is sizzling, immediately pour on top of the fish. You will hear the skin crackle.
  13. Serve right away!

Sea Bass

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