Can any dish be simpler to cook than steamed whole fish? The only real work involved in cooking this steamed pompano with ginger sauce is the preparation. After that, just place the fish in the steamer and leave it to cook for 30 to 45 minutes depending on the size of the fish. No stirring, very few utensils to wash, and, unlike fried whole fish, no oil splatters to clean up afterwards.
I love steamed whole fish. But not all kinds of fish are good for steaming. Why is pompano great for steaming? Because the flesh contains enough oil to make it moist and soft.
This is not exactly a new recipe. You can check out my other steamed whole fish recipes for comparison — with black beans sauce, oyster sauce and or sweet soy sauce. What’s new here is the use of bottled ginger sauce from a Taiwanese grocery.
The ginger sauce was recommended for shumai. When mixed with soy sauce and sesame seed oil, you have a wonderful dipping sauce that makes you feel like you’re eating in an authentic Chinese restaurant even when you’re enjoying the siomai at home.
If you have fresh ginger available, I recommend that you use grated ginger instead of bottled ginger sauce. I used sliced or julienned ginger in the past but after this experiment with the bottled ginger sauce, I am convinced that grating fresh ginger and mixing it with soy sauce and sesame seed oil will yield a more flavorful steamed fish than one that has sliced ginger in it. Grating squeezes out the juices from the ginger and the ginger juice will permeate the fish flesh better.
Steamed Pompano With Ginger Sauce
- Clean the fish by gutting and removing the gills (pompano has very small fine scales and you can remove them easily by scraping the fish’s skin with a small knife).
- Cut off the fins and tail.
- Make a diagonal incision along the entire length of the fish, from half an inch below the head to half an inch above the tail about one-fourth inch deep.
- Place the fish on a heat proof plate.
- Mix together the ginger sauce or grated ginger, soy sauce and sesame seed oil.
- Pour the mixed sauce over the fish, reserving about two tablespoonfuls for later use.
- Steam the fish over briskly boiling water for about 30 minutes.
- When the fish is done, remove the plate from the steamer and pour the reserved sauce over the fish.
- Sprinkle with toasted garlic and chopped cilantro.