“Steamed” Sea Bass, Cantonese Stylefeatured

As featured in Bay Area Bites, July 15, 2009.

I use “steamed” in quotes because this dish forgoes the traditional method of steaming in a covered wok in favor of a more contemporary technique: the microwave.

Before you shun me, just try it.

The fish ends up steaming in its own juices, and soaks up all the great flavor of the seasonings, fresh ginger and scallion.

This is one of the first recipes my mom ever taught me, and I love teaching it to newbies because it’s shockingly fast, easy, healthy and delicious. With the help of the ol’ dinger you can have this dish done from start to finish in 15 minutes.

Black Bean Garlic Sauce (which is delicious on pork ribs too) and Seasoned Soy Sauce for Seafood are the secret ingredients worth hunting down for this dish. Lee Kum Kee is a common brand that makes both products, and they can be found in Chinatown or an Asian-mart like Ranch 99.

Serve the fish over some white jasmine rice or soba noodles and you’ll have a light, summer dinner ready in no time.

Ingredients for Cantonese Sea Bass

Ingredients for Cantonese Sea Bass

"Steamed" Sea Bass, Cantonese Style

Yield: Serves 4


  • 4 (6 oz.) Chilean sea bass fillets (or 1 1/2 lb. Chilean sea bass steak, you can commonly find these frozen in Asian-marts, just it thaw out first)
  • Pinch of salt and white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon black bean garlic sauce (Lee Kum Kee)
  • 2-3 slices peeled ginger
  • 2-3 pieces scallion
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce for seafood (Lee Kum Kee)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil


  1. Rinse and pat dry fish.
  2. Sprinkle salt, white pepper, and cornstarch on both sides.
  3. Coat all over with black bean garlic sauce.
  4. Julienne the slices of ginger; place on top of fish.
  5. Remove the wilted tops and root ends of the scallion. Make a slit, splitting the bottom white part lengthwise. Cut on the bias in 2 inch pieces. The pieces will look large, but don't worry, they will shrink when you cook it; place on top of fish.
  6. Drizzle the soy sauce and vegetable oil on top.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for about 8 minutes

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