Steaming a fish is a lot easier than people might think and adding flavour to it is as simple a quick stir-fry of aromatic ingredients.






Skill level

Average: 3.4 (21 votes)


  • 1 whole snapper (about 700 g), cleaned and scaled
  • 5 thick slices ginger
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 bird’s eye chilli, sliced
  • 2 tbsp salted black beans, rinsed
  • 5 thick spring onions, finely shredded on the diagonal
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Shaoxing wine
  • pinch of sugar
  • coriander sprigs, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


This dish serves 4 as part of a shared meal.

  1. Using a large sharp knife, make 3 deep slashes on both sides of the snapper. Place the fish on a heatproof plate, then place the ginger slices into the cavity. Place the plate into a steamer and steam for 15 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove the cooked fish from the steamer and carefully pour the collected juices into a bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a wok over high heat and add the oil. Fry the garlic and chilli together for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the black beans and spring onions and toss to wilt the spring onions. Add the soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sugar and about 2 tablespoons of the fish liquid.
  3. Pour the black bean mixture over the fish, place some coriander sprigs on top and serve immediately.


Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Adam Liaw.