Whole Fish Drizzled with Hot Ginger-Scallion Oil


The Chinese word for fish (yu) sounds similar to the Chinese word most closely translated to "abundance," so for her Lunar New Year celebration, Lucky Chow producer Danielle Chang serves fish to usher in prosperity and abundance in the new year. Chang uses light soy sauce in this dish—it is lighter in color and higher in salt than dark soy sauce, making it ideal for imparting flavor in steamed seafood.

Whole Fish Drizzled with Hot Ginger-Scallion Oil
Photo: Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
2 to 4


  • 1 (2-pound) whole snapper, carp, or sea bass, cleaned 

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • 3 large scallions, thinly sliced on an angle (about 1 cup)

  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into (1-inch x 1/16-inch x 1/16-inch) strips (about 2 tablespoons)

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce (such as Pearl River Bridge)

  • 1 tablespoon (½ ounce) Shaoxing wine

  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish


  1. Fill an 8-quart oval roasting pan or an 8-quart oval Dutch oven with water to a depth of 1/4 inch; fit a steaming rack in pan. Bring water to a boil over high. Meanwhile, rinse fish inside and out; pat dry. Place fish on a heatproof oval platter, and sprinkle lightly with salt.

  2. Place platter holding fish on steamer rack over boiling water. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and steam until fish is just cooked through and thickest part of flesh flakes easily with the tip of a paring knife, 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully transfer fish to a large serving platter, and sprinkle with scallions and ginger.

  3. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium until very hot but not smoking, about 5 minutes. Immediately and carefully pour hot oil over scallion mixture on fish. You should hear sizzling, and the scallions will slightly wilt.

  4. Stir together soy sauce and wine in a small bowl; drizzle over fish. Garnish with cilantro, and serve immediately.

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