Monday, July 1, 2013

steamed threadfin, my mom's way

I am a Teochew and what we Teochews love is fish. Fresh, fresh fish. Why? Because we love our fish steamed, and you must only use the best, the freshest fish if you are going to steam it.

When I was a child, my Dad would take a pomfret or some other fish, clean it and then steam it without adding any sauces, or salt or pepper. When it was done, we would eat the fish with Tao Jeow, or soy bean paste. It was delicious! 

Since the quality of the fish is so important, some species of fish are highly prized. Fish like the White Pomfret (白鲳), Silver Pomfret (银鲳), also known as Pek Cheoh, Chinese Silvery Pomfret (斗鲳), also known as Tau Tae and Threadfin (午鱼) also know as Ngor Hu are great for steaming.

I was given this huge piece of threadfin the other day, and I decided to steam it for dinner. 

It is a really easy process.

First, the clean piece of fish was placed on a heat-proof dish.

I grated a thumb-sized piece of peeled ginger, and squeezed the juice onto the fish.

On the fish, I added sliced preserved mustard.

Then I added sliced red chilli, tomato and shitake mushrooms. 

The sauces were added - soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, water and grounded white pepper.

And the fish was steamed for about 20 minutes, or until the flesh turned white, and a knife can be easily inserted into the flesh.

I wanted to eat the entire thing on my own, but I shared it with the LAM. 


Steamed Threadfin (Serves 2)

1 piece of threadfin (either fillet or the mid-section), about 400-500g
1 piece ginger, peeled and grated
50g preserved mustard, washed and sliced thinly
1 large chilli, sliced thinly
1 ripe tomato, cut into chunks
4 shitake mushrooms, stems removed and slice
(You can also use rehydrated dried shitake mushrooms)
2 tbs light soy sauce
2 tbs water
1 tbs Shaoxing wine
2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp grounded white pepper

1. Place clean fish on a heat-proof dish. Squeeze ginger juice on the fish.
2. Place preserved mustard, red chilli, shitake mushrooms and tomato on fish.
3. Add light soy suace, water, sesame oil, wine and pepper.
4. Steam for about 20 minutes, or until flesh has turned white, and a knife can be easily inserted into flesh.
5. Serve immediately.


  1. I LOVE this!!! Sometimes I add a few tofu cubes at the side too and oh my gawd it's heavenly!

  2. ooh sometimes I also add toufu! it is a meal in itself!!