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Steamed Fish with Ginger

Steamed Fish in Ginger is a Filipino dish with Chinese flavors and one of the easiest ways to cook a large red snapper like this one. If you prefer, use fish fillets for this recipe using the same seasonings and procedure but instead put the stuffing on top. There is something about the combination of ginger, lemon and rice wine that gives fish and seafood that fragrant Asian aroma and right amount of saltiness to this simple, homespun entrée. This is an Asian in America recipe. Serves 2 as a side or up to 4 if served with rice.
*This recipe has been updated. I share two ways to cook this in the procedure: In the Instant Pot and the classic stove-top way via the steamer.
Note: Cooking time indicated is for the Instant Pot. It takes 30 minutes to steam on the stove-top.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Asian, Chinese, Filipino
Keyword: Filipino Steamed Fish Ginger
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 21kcal
Author: Elizabeth Ann Quirino


  • Steamer for stove-top use
  • Instant Pot or any brand of multi-cooker - 6 quarts or 8 quarts


  • 1 whole (2 to 2.5 lbs.) red snapper (lapu-lapu) cleaned, gutted, scales removed, tail trimmed
  • 1 Tablespoon calamansi or lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon xiao xing rice wine
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper powder
  • 1 whole white or yellow onion chopped
  • 2 stalks scallions chopped, divided, use 1 teaspoon as garnish, rest for stuffing
  • 1 knob (1-inch piece) fresh ginger peeled, sliced thin in 1-inch sized slices (about 1 Tablespoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley for garnish
  • boiled rice for serving
  • 2 Tablespoons patis (fish sauce) served as side dipping sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper corns
  • 1 whole fresh lemon sliced, for garnish


  • Wash fish thoroughly with water. Pat dry with paper towels.
  • If using a whole fish, score the middle part with 2 to 3 slits.
  • Marinate the fish for 30 minutes with lemon juice, rice wine, soy sauce, salt and black pepper all over and inside. Do not marinate longer than 30 minutes or you will end up with  kinilaw or ceviche.
  • In a small bowl, combine the onions, scallions, ginger and black pepper corns. Stuff the inside cavity of the fish. If there are leftover chopped onions, scatter them on top of the fish.
    Sprinkle the sesame oil on top and inside the fish.
  • To cook stove-top in the steamer:
    Fill the bottom pot of the steamer with water. Cover and over high heat bring water to a boil.
    Place the fish on a platter which has a narrow rim, and which will fit inside the steamer.
  • Place the platter of fish inside the second level of the steamer. Cover and steam for 30 minutes for this size of fish ( 2 to 2.5 lbs.).
  • When fish is done, remove from steamer. Garnish with additional sliced scallions and fresh chopped parsley plus lemon slices. Serve warm with rice and a side of patis (fish sauce).
  • Cook's comments: When buying fish at the market, the fish monger offers to clean, remove the scales, intestines and tails of the fish. They also offer to fillet it. All these services are for free. Take advantage and have them do it for you before you head home from the market.

To cook in the Instant Pot

  • Wash and marinate the fish as directed in the instructions above.
    Place the fish and ingredients (see previous instructions above) in a metal or silicone round pan (about 7-inches diameter) which will fit into a 6-quart or 8-quart Instant Pot.
    Place the fish in the pan above the metal trivet that comes with the Instant Pot
    Fill the inside pot with 3 cups of water or enough to reach the bottom of the pan.
  • Close and lock the lid. Set the valve to Sealing.
    Press Manual and cook on High Pressure for 10 minutes.
    When buzzer sounds to announce cooking is done, do a Quick Release. When the float pin drops, it is safe to unlock the lid. Open the lid carefully.
    Using silicone mitts, remove the pan with the fish. Plate on a serving platter and garnish. Serve warm with rice.

Notes on the Instant Pot

  • It takes about 17 to 20 minutes for the Instant Pot to pre-heat before the High Pressure cooking time begins. For other brands of multicookers, check the product manual.
    Safety precautions: Use accessories recommended for the Instant Pot or multi-cookers like silicone or metal. Do not use glassware. Read the product manual for complete safety information.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 21kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1668mg | Potassium: 52mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 120IU | Vitamin C: 2.2mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.5mg