Steamed Fish with Black Bean Sauce – Our Chinese New Year Part 2

Do you know what is wrong this picture?

Oh well, I think I am ok because technically we celebrated the Chinese New Year a few days early…..and also I am not Chinese so I think that gets me off the hook. But the problem with this picture is that traditionally you are supposed to serve a whole steamed fish on Chinese New Year (as well as a whole chicken) as opposed to serving fillets. Something about horrible bad luck all year. Oh well…hopefully I at least get partial credit for trying.

We served this with the steamed dumplings on Saturday for our little Chinese New Year Celebration. If you wanted to add some simple noodles (for longevity) you could make these.

This fish was wonderful. We have never really steamed fish and it’s something we will definitely do again. The texture was great and it was cooked perfectly. The flavors in this recipe were spot on. The black bean sauce (or paste if you can find it) and the sake make a great sauce for the fish while the ginger and the chives add some fresh spicy flavors.

When the fish is finished steaming you pour smoking hot oil over top the chives and ginger so that they wilt and sizzle….which makes it kind of fun to serve. You can see the steam coming off the fish as Jim poured the oil over top. The sesame oil added some great flavor.

You will also want to heat up some sake to drink during dinner, too. It will warm your tummy:-)


Source: Steamy Kitchen

Steamed Fish with Black Bean Sauce - Our Chinese New Year Part 2
Recipe type: Main
  • 4 thick fish fillets (ideally about an inch thick - we used Mahi Mahi but you can also use grouper, salmon, or black sea bass)
  • A pinch of salt and pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons black bean paste (we used sauce because it's all we could find, but I think the paste would be better because it's thicker) - mix with a little sake to thin if you are using the paste
  • 8 Tablespoons sake
  • 1 bunch fresh chives, cut into 1½-inch lengths
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  1. Sprinkle the fish fillets with salt and pepper. Spread the black bean paste on top. Place in a heatproof dish and pour the sake in the dish around the fillets. Steam for about 10 minutes in a steamer.
  2. Meanwhile slice the ginger into thin strips (julienne them.) Heat the oils in a saucepan almost until smoking hot.
  3. Pour the cooking liquids onto a plate that is deep enough for serving.
  4. Top the fish with the chives and ginger and pour the hot oil over top to wilt (they should sizzle.)
  5. Plate the fish on the plate with the reserved cooking liquids.

Easy Steamed Dumplings – for Chinese New Year

The girls have both been studying the Chinese New Year in school so I thought it would be fun to have our own little celebration at home last night. Ella wanted to make dumplings and when she mentioned it, I remembered a Steamed Dumpling recipe in one of my cookbooks that I wanted to try. The recipe uses refrigerated dough which makes things pretty easy – especially if you have little ones eagerly helping you.

This recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks. This is a double volume from Susan Branch that combines her “Heart of the Home” and “Vineyard Seasons” cookbooks into one book. It has some great recipes including the herb roasted chicken I prepared over the summer.

So, for our Chinese New Year celebration, the girls helped to make these dumplings. Taylor cut the dough into little squares and Ella helped to measure the ingredients that go into the pork filling. They both helped to scoop the dough into little balls and seal up the dumplings into little purses. We had fun sealing them up and we ended with many different shapes and sizes.

We also had some steamed fish in a black bean and sake sauce which I will post tomorrow. Jim went to our local Chinese restaurant and got some fried rice and fortune cookies. For our veggie we steamed some snow peas. I decided that I love steamed snow peas so we need to do that more often. I also bought some lemon and gingersnap ice cream from Trader Joe’s which I highly recommend if you have a TJ’s nearby….it is wonderful. The only thing I think we were missing were some noodles (for longevity) but we really didn’t need them – we were stuffed after this meal!

I tried to talk Jim into lighting off some fireworks, but no such luck. Next year I might try being more proactive and get some red envelopes to put money in and maybe some noisemakers or something festive like that. Maybe we will take a trip to our Asian market to pick up some party favors.

I learned that really you are supposed to serve your steamed fish (or chicken) whole on Chinese New Year. Apparently serving fish already cup up is bad luck….oh well…hopefully we will be ok.

This is really a great recipe. The pork mixture is perfect and the dough works really well in this. They weren’t beautiful, but I can partly attribute that to having two little helpers. They did taste like the ones you get in the restaurants so that is a good thing. I also made a dipping sauce that tasted pretty close to what you would get in a restaurant.

If you are looking for a fun and easy recipe, you still have a day left before the Chinese New Year (January 23rd) to make these. I wish you prosperity going into the new year – that is Gong Xi Fa Ca in Chinese.


Easy Steamed Dumplings - for Chinese New Year
Recipe type: Appetizer
  • 2 Tubes refrigerated dinner rolls (I used the Pillsbury Dough Rolls - I think it's something new...could also prob use the pizza dough if you can't find either)
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 4 Tablespoons minced green onion
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste (I added this)
  • ½ cup chopped water chestnuts
  • freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ c. dark soy sauce
  • 3 slices ginger, minced
  • 2 tsp. Oriental sesame oil
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • ⅓ c. rice vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. chili oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. Whatever dough you are using - flatten it out and cut into 4" squares or circles. Mix next 8 ingredients (through the salt) well. Put about 1½ - 2 Tablespoons of pork mixture in the center of each piece of dough. gather up the sides so they meet in the middle. Twist top to close tightly. Put a damp cloth in the top part of a vegetable steamer and put the dumplings on the cloth about an inch apart from each other. Steam over boiling water for about 20 minutes (we had to do this in batches.) Serve with dipping sauce
  2. TO MAKE DIPPING SAUCE: Mix remaining ingredients well and let sit at least 10 minutes.

Also linked up with Everyday Mom’s Meals: Church Suppers