Chinese New Year – Steamed Sea Bass

Chinese New Year has arrived and we welcome in the year of Sheep or Goat today! It is the time for feasting with family and, you’ve guessed it, we have some perfect dishes lined up for you guys at home, starting with this amazing and simple, steamed Sea Bass recipe!

So why fish? In Chinese, “fish” sounds like the word ‘surplus’ fish 鱼 Yú /yoo/. The fish is considered to be a lucky symbol and it is the most popular dish served during Chinese New Year. A whole fish is usually served on Chinese New Year’s eve at the reunion dinner and is usually steamed. It is good luck to leave the bones, head and tail intact, with the head and tail pointed toward distinguished guests or elders, representing respect.


Sea Bass

  • Fresh Sea bass
  • Thumb sized piece of ginger
  • Spring Onion
  • Soy sauce
  • 3 Fresh tomatoes
  • Water

Garlic Sauce:

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Maggie seasoning
  • oil


1. Make sure your sea bass has been cleaned, gutted and de-scaled. When I was at my local fish mongers, I asked them to clean and prepare my Sea Bass and they did a fantastic job!

2. Rinse your fish under a cold tap to clean away any remaining scales, or fish guts! Set aside for later.

3. Prepare your aromatics. Peel and slice your ginger, wash and cut your spring onion.

4. Chop your tomatoes and set aside for later.

5. To prepare the fish, stuff the empty bellies evenly and generously with the tomatoes, spring onion and ginger.

6. In an oven proof dish, scatter the remaining tomatoes and spring onion across the base. Drizzle the dish with a tablespoon of soy sauce to add flavour and colour, then mix this together.

7.  Rest the sea bass on top of your tomatoes. Using a teaspoon of oil and a table spoon of soy sauce, drizzle the skin of the fish and rub in. Make sure you do both sides.

8. Season with pepper and cover with foil. You must make sure to cover your fish, otherwise be prepared to see your fish swimming in a river again!

9. Prepare your large pan or wok for steaming by creating a trivet. Ensure your dish does not come into contact with the boiling water. Pour boiling water into the pan until the surface of the water it is just below your dish.

10. Place a lid over your pan or wok and gently steam for 40 minutes.

11. While the fish is steaming, thinly slice another spring onion and place in a bowl of cold water. By doing this, the thin strips of spring onion will curl, a perfect finishing touch for your fish.

12. For the garlic oil, finely chop and mince your garlic. Heat up some oil in a pan and fry the garlic until it begins to turn golden. Quickly turn off the heat and transfer the contents of the pan into bowl (be aware, you are transferring hot oil! Make sure it can withstand the heat!). Add in a few drops of the Maggie seasoning and set aside for later during the meal.

13. Lift off the cover  – expect steam everywhere!

14. Check on your fish – The flesh should be white and flaky.

14. Once the fish is ready, garnish with the curls of spring onions and bring it to the table.

15. To serve, gently pull the flesh away from the fish and serve to your guests on a bed rice. Top with your garlic oil.

Need inspiration for dessert? Take a look at our Mango Pudding.