Shaoxing-Steamed Steelhead Trout and Mushrooms

Oyster, beech, and shiitake mushrooms cook alongside fatty, succulent steelhead trout fillets in a bath of steam from the Shaoxing wine simmering in the wok beneath the steamer. Serve the fish alongside cooked rice to soak up the aromatic sauce.

Shaoxing-Steamed Steelhead Trout and Mushrooms
Photo: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Thom Driver
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
30 mins

When it comes to using wine to steam food, the primary reason to use wine instead of water is flavor, flavor, flavor. Full-bodied white wines, fortified wines, and rice wines work best for steaming because they provide a bold flavor without the color or bitter tannins of a red wine.

In this recipe, the flavors of Shaoxing wine, a Chinese wine made from fermented rice, are imparted into the food through steaming. The steaming also provides moisture, gently cooking the mushrooms and steelhead trout to medium doneness. After steaming the fish and mushrooms, some of the hot Shaoxing wine is added to a mixture of ginger, and chile, along with garlic, sugar, and salt, to make a quick sauce, adding another layer of complexity and flavor. Look for Shaoxing wine at Asian grocery stores, or substitute dry sherry.­


  • 1 small fresh red Fresno chile or serrano chile (unseeded), stemmed and finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons very finely chopped peeled fresh ginger (from 1 [1/2-inch] piece)

  • 2 small garlic cloves, very finely chopped (about 11/2 teaspoons)

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 4 (5- to 6-ounce) skin-on steelhead trout fillets

  • 8 ounces mixed fresh mushrooms (such as oyster mushrooms, beech mushrooms, and shiitake mushroom caps) (about 4 cups)

  • 1 cup Shaoxing wine

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

  • 2 medium scallions (about 3/4 ounce), cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces and thinly sliced lengthwise (julienned)


  1. Combine chile, sugar, ginger, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium-size heatproof bowl; set aside. Line each of 2 trays of a 14-inch bamboo steamer with a 6-inch square of parchment paper, leaving space around sides of parchment square for steam to rise. Sprinkle trout evenly with remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Place 2 fillets, skin side down, in each steamer tray on parchment paper. Tear mushrooms into large bite-size pieces, if needed; scatter mushrooms between and around fillets. Stack steamer trays; cover basket with lid.

  2. Pour wine and 1 cup water into a nonreactive 14-inch flatbottomed wok. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Place prepared steamer over wok. Steam until fish is just cooked through and mushrooms are tender, 5 to 6 minutes.

  3. Remove bamboo steamer from wok. Immediately ladle 1/4 cup of the boiling wine mixture from wok over chile mixture in bowl, and stir in lime juice. The sauce should be sharply flavored, tart, salty, and a little sweet. Discard remaining wine mixture in wok.

  4. Arrange trout fillets, skin side down, on a platter. Scatter mushrooms on top of and around fish. Pour chile-ginger sauce over fish and mushrooms, and sprinkle with scallions.

Suggested Pairing

Minerally, lightly off-dry Riesling: Peter Lauer Senior Fass 6

Related Articles