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Recipe for Steamed Tilapia, Fresh and Tender-Authentic Chinese Style

Updated on April 30, 2014

Fresh and Tender Tilapia

This is the final look.  My friend took this picture for me.
This is the final look. My friend took this picture for me. | Source
The tilapia looked like this before I put it into the steam pot.
The tilapia looked like this before I put it into the steam pot. | Source

Steamed Tilapia- Tender and Fresh, Chinese Style

4 stars from 3 ratings of Steamed Tilapia

Recipe for Fresh and Tender Tilapia- Authentic Chinese Style

Interested in trying some authentic Chinese food? You can do more than going to a restaurant. Here is a quick and easy way to get you started with a fresh tilapia, ginger roots and green onions. While the dish itself takes about 40 min, your real cooking time is less than 10min.

The Story Behind

I am a Chinese girl who has moved to US for two and a half years so far for school. I love food from all over the world but have maintained my Chinese way of preparing most of my meals as I just cannot forget the taste! That's why I want to share my recipes here with more people!

While working as a full-time engineer now, I don't get much time for cooking. However, when I tried with my friend to cook this dish for the first time during the weekend, I discovered so unexpectedly that while I may need to wait in between, the real time I need to cook is less than 10 min! It is not that complicated as it might seem.

I am not an excellent cook, but I love to put thoughts into my cooking. If I can do it, trust me, you can do it. So happy to share this recipe with you and I am looking forward to your feedback!

Please allow for slightly more time if this is your first try, especially if you are not familiar with Chinese way of cooking before :)

Why wait? Give yourself a treat starting with this recipe!


3 Green onion, sliced as shown in the picture

15g Ginger roots, sliced or chopped, the amount can vary :)

one fresh tilapia (have it cleaned in the market for you)

1/2 tsp of salt

6 tbsp of cooking oil

3 tbsp of cooking wine ( you may get it at an Asian market if they are not readily available)

2 tbsp of seasoned soy sauce for seafood ( This is a bottle of sauce specially for seafood. You may get it at an Asian market as well)

Don't worry about exactly how much green onion or ginger roots you should use. Look at the picture and try to make something that looks similar. The flavor will be there.

Real cooking time is less than 10 min ! Please be patient with the descriptions, I want to share the reason behind every step since authentic Chinese cooking is

  1. Wash the tilapia with water just to further clean it. Put the tilapia on a cutting board. Cut several lines into the fish skin like drawing a fish bone diagram on the fish itself. (This step is to make sure that the seasoning can get inside the fish easier. It does't matter much how you cut the lines and what is the shape of the line)
  2. Apply 1/2 tsp of salt and 3 tbsp of cooking wine over the surface of the whole tilapia. Massage the fish a little bit just to let the seasoning get inside.
  3. Add some chopped ginger roots inside the tilapia as well as on top. Put sliced green onions on a plate that can hold your fish and also fit into your steam pot. Move your fish covered with ginger roots onto this plate so that the fish lie above the green onions.
  4. Now leave your fish alone for about 20 min. Flavors of the seasoning, green onion and ginger roots will gradually get into the fish during this time.
  5. Heat up your steam pot. When the water is boiled, put your fish plate into the steam pot. Steam for 15-18min.
  6. Getting out of the steam pot, there is lots of water on the plate. Get rid of the water on the plate and remove the green onion, ginger roots below, on top of and inside the fish. (They fulfilled their mission to add flavor to the fish, now they can leave :)
  7. Again, add sliced green onions below the steamed tilapia and chopped ginger roots on top. Add 2 tbsp of “Seasoned Soy Sauce for Seafood" ( a bottle of sauce available at the Asian market) on top of the tilapia, try to apply it evenly over the whole surface (Don't add too much cause it can get salty).
  8. Last step is the coolest: Heat up 6tbsp of cooking oil in a wok till it slightly smokes. Pour the oil on top of the steamed tilapia covered with ginger roots. You hear the sizzling sound(be careful) coming with the amazing smell. Now your authentic Chinese dish is ready!


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    • Xiao Xiao Rui profile image

      Xiao Xiao Rui 3 years ago from Cincinnati

      Yeah, steamed dishes are always healthier than fried ones, far more less calories:) The last step to add some hot cooking oil on top gives it the taste of fried ones as well

    • Chin chin profile image

      Chin chin 3 years ago from Philippines

      I like tilapia and having it steamed is actually healthier than frying it.