Steamed fish with ginger and soy sauce (“Cá Hấp Gừng Xì Dầu”) is one of the best seafood-based recipes that Vietnamese cuisine has to offer. The dish features white fish that has been well-marinated and steamed to perfection, along with a flavor-packed thick, dark sauce.
In addition, various colorful and fragrant veggies give the delicacy a festive look, making it an ideal option for special occasions. If you want to impress your loved ones with an “out-of-this-world” main course, don’t miss out on today’s recipe!
Steamed Fish With Ginger And Soy Sauce – A Must-Try For Everyone
“Cá Hấp Gừng Xì Dầu” is a popular dish in Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine. In the food culture of Cantonese, this delicacy is a traditional final course served at weddings.
The recipe includes two main parts: Ca Hap Gung (steamed fish with ginger) and Xi Dau (dark soy sauce). White fish, such as Asian sea bass, is usually the preferred option. After scaling and cleaning the fish, the chef will marinate it with ginger and a collection of aromatics.
The sauce is a mixture of dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil, resulting in a viscous and intense sauce. Contrasting with the dark sauce is an array of vivid-looking garnishes, like carrots, scallions, and chili pepper.
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Aromatic, tender fish combined with a flavorful sauce and colorful veggies creates an impressive dish that’s sure to turn heads every time it appears on your diner table
A steamer pot is the most important tool you’ll need for this recipe, so make sure you choose one that can fit a whole fish.
- Steamer pot: For steaming the fish.
- Pan: For making the sauce.
- Knives: Since fish has a distinct smell, you should use one knife to prepare it and another for the remaining ingredients.
- Chopping boards: Likewise, prepare two chopping boards for the fish and the vegetables/spices.
- Ladle: For string the ingredients.
- Mini ladle (optional): For pouring the sauce around the fish.
- Tongs: For handling the fish and spices before and after steaming.
Besides the three core ingredients, which are white fish, ginger, and dark soy sauce, you’ll also need to prepare other vegetables and condiments. The good news is that all of them are easy to find.
- Asian sea bass: You can opt for whole fish or fish filets. Preparing the whole fish will be more work but will result in a better-looking dish. On the other hand, fish filets are a great choice if you don’t have much time.
- Scallions: For marinating the fish and garnishing.
- Carrots, cilantro, celery, leek: Colorful and aromatic garnishing options for the dish.
- Ginger: Use half of the ginger for marinating and the other half for putting over the fish after steaming.
- Dark soy sauce: The base condiment for the sauce. Use the premium type for the best taste.
- Oyster sauce: Adds thickness and a savory flavor to the sauce.
- Sesame oil: A little sesame oil will help the fish retain its moisture while steaming. You’ll also use this ingredient in the sauce.
- Rice wine: For making the sauce.
- Shallots: Add flavors and aroma to the fish. You’ll use shallots for marinating as well.
- Onions: Like shallots, onions are great for elevating the dish’s taste.
- Garlic: For making fried garlic.
- Other spices: Sugar, salt, pepper, chili pepper.
I won’t keep you waiting any longer. Here are the required steps to cook this delectable seafood dish in your own kitchen.
Julienne the ginger, carrots, scallions, chili, and leek. Then, put the sliced scallions into a bowl of cold water to keep them fresh.
Mince half of the shallots and cut the other half into wedges. Slice the garlic. Cut the onion into wedges. Cut the cilantro and celery into pieces.
Scale and clean the seabass, keeping the head and tail intact. Make a cut on the belly and score the body to help the fish absorb spices more easily.
Season on both sides of the fish with 1.5 teaspoons of salt and 1.5 teaspoons of pepper. Gently rub its body to spread the seasoning evenly.
Season the inside of the belly with a little salt and pepper. Then, add the minced shallots, half of the ginger, and half of the scallions to the fish belly.
Marinate the fish for about 1 hour.
Place the fish on a plate. Put the plate in the steamer pot and drizzle 1 tablespoon of sesame oil on the fish. The oil will add a sheen to the skin and prevent the fish from drying out after steaming.
Steam the fish for about 25 to 30 minutes. Next, add the onion and shallot wedges to the pot and steam for another 5 to 7 minutes. Once cooked, remove the fish from the steamer pot.
To check the fish’s doneness, stick a toothpick into its body. If the toothpick comes out clean and the liquid inside the fish is no longer red, your fish is cooked.
The main purpose of the onions and shallots is to add flavor to the fish. After steaming, they’ll turn mushy, so some people might find them unenjoyable. I usually keep the shallots for serving but remove the onions.
While waiting for the fish to cook, you can make the sauce.
Put a pan on the stove and heat some cooking oil over medium heat. Once the oil is heated, add some garlic and fry until fragrant and golden brown. Remove the garlic from the pan and set them aside.
Pour the oil into a small bowl, leaving a small amount inside the pan for making the sauce.
Add sesame oil, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine, pepper, salt, and sugar to the pan. Cook until the mixture has a medium thickness.
Put the julienned carrots, ginger, scallions, leek, and chili over the fish one by one. Heat the oil that you saved after frying the garlic. Once heated, pour it on the fish.
Pour the sauce around the fish.
Garnish with some cilantro, celery, and fried garlic. Enjoy!
Give this section a quick read for other cooking tips and recommend serving options.
- Besides sea bass, you can also use cod, red snapper, grouper, or halibut for this recipe. Some people also like to make it using salmon.
- You’ll need to adjust the steaming time based on the size of the fish or fish filets. The fish I used in this recipe is about 2.2 pounds.
- Feel free to adjust the number of scallions, ginger, and chili to your liking.
- Adding shiitake mushrooms to this dish is not a bad idea. Remember to rehydrate and slice them thinly first.
- This dish is best enjoyed hot. You can serve it on its own or as an accompaniment for steamed rice. I also love to pair it with vermicelli noodles.
Whenever you need a tasty recipe to pull attention to the dinner table, Ca Hap Gung Xi Dau won’t fail you. The thing I love most about this recipe is that while it looks and tastes like something you’d find in a fancy restaurant, it’s surprisingly simple to make.
If you haven’t decided on what to make for the next family gathering, why don’t you give today’s recipe a try? I’m sure that your family will love this dish right after tasting it once. Drop me a like and comment if you find this post helpful. Most importantly, don’t forget to share it around!
5 servings per container
- Amount Per ServingCalories450
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat
- Saturated Fat 5.1g 26%
- Sodium 1870mg 78%
- Potassium 269mg 8%
- Total Carbohydrate
- Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
- Sugars 8g
- Protein 40.9g 82%
* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.