Halibut is one of my favorite fish. It is in the flounder family and it has a mild flavor with a nice firm texture. The halibut fillet really allows the seasoning and sauce to shine. And that is just what happens with this oh so delicious Asian halibut recipe from Chef Sally Ling. This steamed halibut recipe is just one of many amazing home-style Chinese cuisine recipes will find in the new cookbook Dumpling Daughter: Heirloom Recipes from our Restaurants and Home Kitchens (November 8, 2022).
In this cookbook (affiliate Amazon link provided below) by popular Boston restaurateur Nadia Liu Spellman, she shares insight into her family and their successful Chinese restaurants. Nadia also shares family favorite Chinese recipes straight from her mother, renowned chef Sally Ling. From Boston’s most renowned 5-star Chinese restaurant, “Sally Ling’s,” to Nadia’s multi-chain restaurant “Dumpling Daughter,” it is clear that they have a passion for food, dining, and hospitality.
Many of the recipes featured in the Dumpling Daughter cookbook are for staples that her restaurant customers know and love. It is filled with stunning images and recipes that delicious and accessible. She walks you through the basics of stocking a Chinese pantry as well as knife skills and techniques. She shares recipes and tips for everything from the building blocks of Chinese Cuisine to how to plan a Chinese banquet.
Now, here is Sally Ling’s recipe for the perfect steamed halibut with recipe introduction by Nadia Liu Spellman.
STEAMED HALIBUT WITH GINGER & SCALLIONS 薑葱蒸比目魚
Recipe and Photo CREDITS: Dumpling Daughter: Heirloom Recipes from our Restaurants and Home Kitchens.
This is one of my favorite dishes. It relies upon a traditional Cantonese technique that I am so excited to share. Steamed fish, fresh ginger, and scallions are topped with sizzling hot oil that flash-fries the garnishes, releasing a brilliant wave of aromatics through the kitchen. A traditional dish would call for a whole fish, but we use filets to make it more approachable. I always make extra, so I can add my leftovers to fresh salad greens the next day.
A few tips about cooking fish: Steaming with water vapor in a closed vessel is the best way to produce tender and flaky fish. This dish works well with multiple varieties of white fish, such as sea bass, haddock, cod, salmon, sole—though cooking times will vary. Try this trick from Eric Ripert: “Insert a metal skewer to the thickest part of the filet, when you remove it, touch it to the inside of your wrist (or lower lip if you’re brave) and it should feel warm.If it’s cold, the fish is not cooked yet; if it’s hot, it is overcooked.”
If you do not have a steaming basket, here’s another handy trick: make balls of aluminum foil (about the size of a golf ball) and place them in the bottom of the pot. Place a baking dish on top of the aluminum foil balls, ensuring the water does not touch the baking dish. Cover and voila! You have a steaming basket.
Halibut Fish Recipe Ingredients:
- 1½ pounds halibut, skin on and no more than an inch at the thickest part of the fish fillet
- 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine
- 4 scallions, trimmed and julienned into 2-inch lengths (may use green onions or spring onions)
- 3-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and julienned
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for brushing (may use olive oil instead)
- White pepper, to taste
- 12 sprigs cilantro, roughly chopped
How To Make Halibut Steamed
CLEAN THE FISH and pat dry with paper towels.
IN A SMALL BOWL, combine the soy sauce and the Shaoxing rice wine. Add the scallions, ensuring they are submerged, and half the ginger.
LIGHTLY OIL A HEAT-RESISTANT PLATE and place the halibut fillets skin-side down. Sprinkle the fish with the white pepper and the rest of the ginger.
Prepare your steamer pot and bring 2-3 inches of water to a boil.
Carefully place the plate of fish in the steamer and cover. Use can use a bamboo steamer or a stainless steel steamer. Then, steam halibut for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on how thick your filet is. Check for doneness by inserting a metal skewer or wooden chopstick at the thickest part; if the fish is punctured without resistance, it’s done. (See the headnote for tips.)
Turn off the heat, carefully remove the plate, and drain any liquid. Spread the scallion and ginger mixture across the surface of the fish, then sprinkle the chopped cilantro sprigs over the top of the fish.
Here’s the fun part. Heat a small pan over medium-high heat. When the small skillet is almost smoking, add 6 tablespoons of the oil and heat until very hot. Pour the oil over the fish and stand back—you should hear it sizzle. Serve hot, right from the sizzling plate. (Use caution.)
Printable Recipe Card
I just love this Asian halibut recipe. It is steamed but the oil technique at the end helps crisp up the skin the the garnish. It is so flavorful and good! Be sure to check out the Dumpling Daughter cookbook for more of these delicious family style Chinese recipes. If you make this dish, share the photos with us on social media @familyfocusblog and @dumplingdaughter!