Learn how to make master this homestyle Vietnamese steamed fish recipe with a ton of vegetables and spices that is cooked to perfection.
In Vietnamese cooking, steaming fish properly is an essential skill to master. Perfecting the art of making Vietnamese whole steamed fish will be rewarded with a flaky, delicious, moist flesh that is undeniably delectable. Most traditional recipes includes a ton of vegetables like ginger, mushrooms, onions that provide not only aromatics, but transforms the flavor of the fish.
I'll be sharing an authentic, Vietnamese recipe is healthy, delicious, and most of all, super easy to make.
All About Vietnamese Steamed Whole Fish
Steamed whole fish is a popular dish and often served during celebatory ocassions like holiday meals and birthdays.
What does Vietnamese steamed fish (ca hap xi dau) taste like?
Vietnamese steamed whole fish has a moist, juicy, and slight coating of a sauce made from julienned vegetables. tender and has a silky, delicate texture that is delicious. When cooked, the fish has
What are other names for Vietnamese steamed whole fish?
This recipe can be found under many names, including:
- Vietnamese whole steamed fish
- Vietnamese steamed fish
- Ca hap xi dau
- Ca hap hanh gung
What are the best fish species for steaming a whole fish?
Fish types that are great for steaming whole include haddock, grouper, salmon, rainbow trout, mahi-mahi, and halibut. Fish that has white flesh with a mildly sweet taste is best for this dish.
Asian Grocery Store List for Southeast Asian Recipe
Often, at Asian markets, you'll find that they sell live fish so that they are super fresh from live tanks. I know, the smell can be overwhelming. However, the freshnes so the fish will be worth it. Live tank fish generally have a high cost, but the taste that you get will be rewarding. I recommend purchasing live large mouth bass or rainbow trout at an Asian supermarket if available. You can ask them to scale and gut the fish while you are there as well.
You can pick up large chunks of ginger at an Asian grocer at half the cost of your local grocer.
Scallions and green onions can be found in the vegetable aisle also insanely inexpensively as well.
Enoki Mushroom (Nam Kim Cham)
Enoki mushroom provides another layer of savory. They look like small, clustered mushrooms and are delicious with this meal.
Soy Bean Paste
Soy bean paste brings a level of unami to this dish. You can pick it up at you rlocal grocer or use this one here.
Recipe Tips and Tricks Before Steaming Whole Fish
With this dish, you can take a lot of liberties, but it would turn out just as delicious. However, there are a few basic considerations before adventuring with this recipe:
Choosing the Fish
Choosing the right fish for this dish is really important. I've listed some above, but some other fish choices where they aren't as oily include ling, halibut, any kind of flounder or fluke, grouper, and rock code.
Preparing the Fish
You'll want to ensure that the fish has been gutted and scaled. I would also recommend trimming of fins because it will be easier to serve. If you have kids in your family, when an entire fish is placed in front of them, it might scare them away. In situations like this, you can cut smaller filets of the fish for presentation.
Large Steaming Basket
If you want to steam the whole fish, you will need to make sure that you have a steamer basket large enough to steam the fish. Try to trim enough to fit the fish in the basket where you can. There is also the option of using skin-attached fish fillets, which will allow to to forgo the need for a large steaming basket and enable you to fit more of the fish into the steamer.
Heat and Steam Proof Plate
You'll want to have the fish on a heat and steam proof plate (potentially one that you can also use for presentation). That way, you can steam and present quickly without a need to transfer it to another plate.
Cutting the Vegetables
The most time consuming time of making the fish is cutting up the vegetables. Take time to slice all the vegetables as thin as you can get them. Take your time and make sure you get them as thin as possible in order to ensure that the aromatics are released during the steaming process.
How to Make Authentic Steamed Whole Fish Recipe
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Serving and Storing Steamed Whole Fish
Cooked fish can be stored for up to 2-3 days in a refridgerator. Store it in a shallow, covered container.
Frequently Asked Questions About Vietnamese Whole Fish
What if the fish is too big for the steamer?
If the fish is too big for the steamer, you have an alternative of cutting the fish into fish fillets with the skin in tact, or you can try steaming it in the oven.
What are other alternatives to prepare the fish besides steaming?
Fish can be "steamed" in the oven. Preheat the over to 400F Put the fish with the julienned vegetables on a sheet pan and cover with aluminum foil to encapsulate the heat. Put it in the oven. After 30 minutes, check the fish flesh to ensure it's done.
What can I substitute in place of enoki mushrooms in steamed fish?
You can substitute beech, oyster, wood ear, or white button mushrooms as substitutes in that order for making steamed fish.
Summary About Vietnamese Steamed Whole Fish Recipe
I hope you enjoyed this recipe for authentic Vietnamese steamed whole fish. It's not only a delicious meal, it also is really fun to make. This recipe provides layers of flavor to the fish.
Some Vietnamese cooks like to add thinly sliced dried shiitake mushrooms that have been rehydrated. The dried mushrooms will add an earthy note to the dish which does make it more interestin
Other Homestyle Recipes from Vietnam You Might Like
Here are some additional authentic and delicious KEYWORD recipes that you will love:
- Vietnamese Bitter Melon Soup - Canh Kho
- Vietnamese Pork and Crab Noodle
- Vietnamese Carmelized & Braised Pork with Eggs (Thit Kho)