Steamed Fish With Black Bean Sauce

Total Time
Prep 20 mins
Cook 10 mins

I guess this might be called my 'signature' dish and my husband was astonished that I hadn't posted it here yet. The original recipe came from my dog-eared copy of More Long-Life Chinese Cooking From Madam Wong but I've changed it so much that now it's my own. The black beans can be found in oriental markets, they keep forever in a clean glass jar with a tight fitting lid. I make this with fish fillets, usually Chilean sea bass but any firm, white fillet will work. You can also use a whole fish, just make 3, deep, diagonal gashes on each side of the fish. Cooking time is approximate, depending on the type and size fish you use. My sea bass fillet are pretty thick so I steam for 10 minutes total on them. Cook less for thinner fillets. Serve this fish with rice to soak up the delicious juice and I also, ALWAYS serve it with my Baby Bok Choy with Oyster Sauce. My husband loves to spoon some of the sauce from that onto his fish.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. If using a whole fish, make 3 deep diagonal slashes on each side of the fish.
  2. Chop the black beans; place half of the black beans, scallions, and ginger on a heat-proof plate that can be used in the steamer; place the fish on top.
  3. Sprinkle fish with the sugar, then pour the sherry or rice wine, soy sauce and oil on top; cover the fish with remaining black beans, scallions and ginger.
  4. For steaming I use my electric wok and place 2 chopsticks next to each other in one direction and 2 more next to each other in the opposite direction, creating a platform.
  5. Place the plate of fish on top of the steamer, over briskly boiling water, cover and steam 10 minutes for thick fillets, 20 minutes for whole fish and less than 10 minutes for thinner fillets.
  6. fish is finished when fillets flake easily or when a chopstick will easily pierce the gill area on whole fish.
  7. Remove to a platter and garnish with cilantro.
  8. Serve over steamed jasmine rice and make sure to spoon the black bean sauce over the whole thing; YUM.
Most Helpful

5 5

Awesome awesome recipe! Simple and definitely delicious! My husband who hates green onion and picks every single one of them out of his dish even ate all the green onion in this dish!!! It took me a long time to find fermented black bean in the store but turns out they call it "Salted Black Beans". Even my toddler loved it too! Keeping this one in my recipe book.

5 5

i ended up baking this since i had no steamer or chopsticks. had to use regular soy sauce and mirin in place of the lite soy and rice wine since those were all i had in hand. i even doubled and i think maybe even trippled the sauce. delicious! was a hit w/ the kids. will go into my favorites!

5 5

This dish is as delicious as it is easy to prepare; low-cal and healthy too! I used Basa fillets (a Vietnamese catfish) and followed recipe exactly (used rice wine) except for cilantro garnish. I recommend using the electric wok as well-- maintains a constant boil. Don't hesitate to eat the ginger shreds because they are lovely and leave a wonderful taste in the mouth. This is a real winner; thanks for posting !