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Steamed Fish with Black Bean Sauce

by Kelly
Steamed Fish with Black Bean sauce, cooked in only 15 minutes!

This is an incredibly simple yet flavourful dish that requires almost zero prep work and cooks super fast, so you can be like an Asian parent who wants to feed fish to their kids everyday all day long, in the hopes of making them just that little bit smarter to become a doctor/engineer/lawyer 😂.

This recipe marries the delicate flavours of red snapper with the bold, umami-rich essence of fermented black beans. Its tender, flaky white flesh provides the perfect canvas for the rich and savoury black bean sauce. Complementing this are ginger strips, cilantro, and chilli for a burst of vibrant colours and flavours.

The soul of this dish resides in the sauce, made from:

  • Fermented Black Beans: These little wonders pack a punch of umami flavor, providing depth and character to the sauce.
  • Salt: A touch of salt enhances the natural taste of the fish and balances the sauce’s intensity.
  • Pepper: A pinch of pepper adds a subtle kick.
  • Minced Garlic: Garlic infuses the sauce with its pungent essence.
  • Light Soy Sauce: This lends a delicate, salty-sweet note to the sauce, ensuring it harmonizes with the snapper’s delicate taste.
  • (Optional) Chilli: For those seeking an extra kick, feel free to introduce some chilli to the sauce.

When steaming the fish, it’s crucial to remember that the exact steaming time may vary depending on the thickness of your fish. You can test it by using a fork and twisting gently at the thickest point. It will flake easily when it’s done and it will loose its translucent or raw appearance. If the fish is not done yet, let it cook for another 2-3 minutes.

I love the ease and speed of making this steamed fish with black bean sauce and ginger, which makes it an easy dish to add to a weekly rotation. So let’s get to it!

Watch How To Make It

Steamed Fish with Black Bean Sauce

This simple yet flavourful dish requires almost no prep work and oversight, resulting in a super quick meal filled with an umami-rich sauce!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time7 minutes
Total Time12 minutes
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Keyword: dinner, easy recipe, lunch, seafood, steamer
Servings: 3


  • Steamer


  • 390 g red snapper
  • Some ginger strips
  • cilantro garnish
  • chilli garnish


  • 1/2 tbsp fermented black beans
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp light soy


  • Make the sauce with fermented black beans, salt, pepper, minced garlic and light soy sauce. If you like it spicy, add chilli here. Mix well.
  • Pat-dry the fish fillets with kitchen paper and pour the sauce onto the fish. Place ginger strips over it.
  • Steam it over high heat for 7 minutes.
    Pro Tip: Steaming time depends on the thickness of your fish. Let it steam for 5 minutes on high heat and use a fork and twist gently at the thickest point. It will flake easily when it’s done and it will loose its translucent or raw appearance. If it’s undone, let it cooks for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Garnish with cilantro and chilli (if you haven’t already) and serve!

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Cho-ri 19 October 2023 - 9:16 pm

Hi, could you specify what fermented black beans you used? I know different cuisine has their own style so I’m not sure what fermented black beans this recipe calls for.

Kelly 26 October 2023 - 8:00 pm

I used this product (https://www.fairprice.com.sg/product/aaa-fermented-black-bean-180g-13021232), but depending on the country you’re from, you may need to search in Asian grocers for this.


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