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Chinese Steamed Fish with Black Bean Sauce

This simple and delicious recipe results in flavorful steamed fish with just a few steps! The tender, flaky fish pairs well with the clean aromatics and tasty sauce for a satisfying dish.

Chinese Steamed Fish Fillets with Black Bean Sauce Recipe w Fork

This Chinese steamed fish with black bean sauce is a quick and easy dish to prepare. It is quite healthy too! The combination of this recipe’s simplicity and use of 豆豉 (Chinese black bean) has turned it into one of the main dishes that I prepare most often. 

豆豉 (dòuchǐ), or Chinese fermented and salted soybean, is the key ingredient for this recipe. It has a salty, funky, and umami flavor. This ingredient is most commonly used in steamed dishes (like in dim sum) and stir-fries. Dou chi is also often turned into black bean sauce! The fermented beans pack a lot of flavor, so a little goes a long way!

Chinese steamed fish fillets is a great dish for sharing and is best enjoyed best over a bed of warm rice with extra sauce drizzled on top!

What fish should be used for steaming?

You can use a wide variety of fish fillets in this recipe. Here, I steamed tilapia fillets. I have also made this with cod. Any of the varieties below should steam well: 

  • Sea bass/Striped bass
  • Flounder
  • Fluke
  • Grey sole
  • Grouper
  • Cod
  • Tilapia
  • Other white fish

For the best results, try to use fresh fish! However, I used frozen fillets to make Chinese black bean fish with great success. 

Recipe Notes

  1. Fermented Black Beans: Chinese black beans have a distinct flavor which is vital for this recipe. If you don’t have the beans but instead have store-bought black bean paste, you could try using the paste instead. However, make sure to adjust the ratio of all of the aromatics and sauce ingredients to account for the substitution. 
  2. Excess Steaming Liquid: Sometimes when steaming, the fish can release a lot of liquid, or the water from steaming can pool on the bottom of the dish. If there is a lot of liquid appears cloudy and/or it appears cloudy, then you can optionally pour out some of it. This can help to prevent the sauce from getting too diluted.  

Chinese Steamed Fish with Black Bean Sauce

This simple and delicious recipe results in flavorful steamed fish with just a few steps! The tender, flaky fish pairs well with the clean aromatics and sauce.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: black bean fish, Chinese black bean fish, chinese steamed fish fillet, steamed fish fillets, steamed fish with black bean sauce
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 255kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fish fillets
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp fermented black beans roughly chopped *Note 1

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 2 tsp Shaoxing wine or rice wine (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Garnish

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 green onion thinly sliced

Instructions

  • Add at least 1-2 inches of water to your steaming set-up. Bring to a boil.
  • While the water is coming up to a boil, arrange the fish on a heat-proof plate. Choose a dish that fits inside your steamer and has sides tall enough to contain the sauce and extra liquid.
  • Spread the ginger, garlic, and black beans evenly over the fish fillets.
  • Place the fish into the steamer.
  • Cover and steam for 7-10 minutes, depending upon the size/thickness of your fish fillets. If the fillets are smaller and thinner, you can cook for as little as 4-5 minutes. You can check if the fish is done cooking by piercing the thickest part of a fillet with a fork or butter knife. If the fish is fully cooked, it should flake apart easily. Adjust the cooking time as needed.
  • While the fish is steaming, mix the soy sauce, hot water, Shaoxing wine, sugar, and salt together in a small bowl until the sugar and salt dissolve. Set aside.
  • Once the fish has finished cooking, remove it from the steamer. *Note 2
  • Pour the prepared sauce over the fish. Arrange the sliced green onion on top.
  • Heat the 1 tbsp of oil in a saucepan just until it begins to smoke. Pour the oil over the green onion to release its aroma. Serve while warm.

Notes

  1. Fermented Black Beans: Chinese black beans have a distinct flavor which is vital for this recipe. If you don’t have the beans themselves and instead have store-bought black bean paste, you could try using the paste instead. However, make sure to adjust the ratio of all of the aromatics and sauce ingredients to account for the black bean paste.
  2. Excess Steaming Liquid: Sometimes when steaming, the fish can release a lot of liquid, or the water from steaming can pool on the bottom of the dish. If there is a lot of liquid appears cloudy and/or it appears cloudy, then you can optionally pour out some of it. This can help to prevent the sauce from getting too diluted.

How to Make Chinese Steamed Fish with Black Bean Sauce

Add at least 1-2 inches of water to your steaming set-up. Bring to a boil.

While the water is coming up to a boil, arrange the fish on a heat-proof plate. Choose a dish that fits inside your steamer and has sides tall enough to contain the sauce and extra liquid. Spread the ginger, garlic, and black beans evenly over the fish fillets. 

Fish with Black Bean, Garlic, and Ginger Before Steaming

Place the fish into the steamer. Cover and steam for 7-10 minutes, depending upon the size/thickness of your fish fillets. If the fillets are smaller and thinner, you can cook for as little as 4-5 minutes. You can check if the fish is done cooking by piercing the thickest part of a fillet with a fork or butter knife. If the fish is fully cooked, it should flake apart easily. Adjust the cooking time as needed. 

Fish with Black Bean, Garlic, and Ginger After Steaming

While the fish is steaming, mix the soy sauce, hot water, Shaoxing wine, sugar, and salt together in a small bowl until the sugar and salt dissolve. Set aside.

Once the fish has finished cooking, remove it from the steamer. Pour the prepared sauce over the fish. Arrange the sliced green onion on top. 

Sauce and Green Onion Added to Fish

Heat the 1 tbsp of oil in a saucepan just until it begins to smoke. Pour the oil over the green onion to release its aroma. Serve while warm. 

Chinese Steamed Fish Fillets with Black Bean Sauce Recipe Overhead

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