WARNING: The pictures you are about to see may be disturbing. This is the journey of one whole tilapia from raw to a beautifully steamed fish, and yes, with the head on. (Yes, WITH the head on)
I'm in love with steamed fish, I think I've mentioned this before, but I didn't used to. I've discovered that's it's one very healthy way to make fish. Not only that, but it's one of my childhood nostalgias. (It also preserves the natural sweetness of the fish, so if you can, try to buy a fresh fish and just have your fish guy clean, and gut it for you). You can steam virtually any fish! I just love tilapia because it's extremely low in cost (about $5 for a pound and a half at most Asian markets).
Here's how to do it.
Take your fish and place it on a plate that's safe for steaming (if the fish is too long, you may cut it in half, but it's best if you can keep it whole)
Thinly julienne scallions and ginger (I like cilantro on mine as well, roughly chopped)
I would say about two table spoons of each, but it's really up to you how much of each you want.
Here's where the order varies a bit (I've tried it both ways and both are great)
Option 1: Put about a table spoon of Canola oil on top of your fish and then top it with the aromatics, place in the steamer for about 7-10 mins, or until the eyes become opaque. Add soy sauce (I use about a table spoon and a half of low sodium soy sauce) Take out carefully and enjoy!
Option 2: Put the fish in the steamer as is. Steam for about 7-12 mins, or until the eyes become opaque. While the fish is steaming, in a separate pan, heat up a tablespoon and a half of Canola oil when warm, sauté ginger for about a minute or two and remove from heat.
By this time your fish should be done. Take the fish out and top it with the green onion and cilantro and pour you hot oil and ginger on top of the greens, this will cause them to wilt a bit (you should hear it sizzle as you pour the oil over...makes for impressive presentation!)
I served my steamed fish that night with XO sauce sauté-d haricot verts (green beans), and soy sauce soaked chicken wings. A delicious Chinese home cooked meal.
Of course you could do this with any fish filet as well! That usually takes about half the time 5-7 minutes. Healthy, delicious, and super easy!