Recipe: Jonathan Wu’s Steamed Fish

Steamed fish by Fung Tu's Jonathan Wu. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Wu.

Jonathan Wu is the executive chef at New York’s Fung Tu restaurant. Here, he shares a recipe for steamed fish.

I love eating whole fish. It’s a staple of any Chinese banquet. We bone the fish out to make it easier for the customer to eat. Douchi, ginger, and scallion are great pairings with seafood. In Chinese cooking theory, these ingredients dispel “fishy” flavors.

Noteworthy Ingredients

  • Dried Tangerine Peel – dried tangerine peel has been featured in Chinese cooking for hundred of years. It is used as an aromatic, added to soups and stews.
  • Dried Chili Peppers – an essential ingredient in Sichanese and Hunanese cooking. Native to the Americas, chili peppers were brought to China by the Portuguese in the 17th century.
  • Douchi – douchi are fermented, salted soybeans. They have a pungent, savory flavor: salty, nutty, earthy, sweet. They are the oldest known food made from soybeans, dating to 165 B.C.


  • 1 Market Fish (Porgy, Black Bass), 4 lbs, scaled and gutted
  • 1/4 t kosher salt
  • 1” Ginger, peeled, minced
  • 3 Garlic cloves, peeled, minced
  • 2 Scallion whites, minced
  • 2T Shiro (white) Soy Sauce
  • 2T Sake
  • 2T EVO
  • 2T veg stock
  • 1T Douchi
  • 2 Tangerines
  • 1 Fennel, sliced ¼” thick, green fronds reserved
  • 6 star anise
  • 2 cups veg stock
  • Chili Oil
  • 2 scallion greens, sliced


  • Fish (market fish)
  • Soy  (douchi, white soy sauce)
  • Gluten (white soy)

1. Butterfly fish from belly side. Remove the spine. Remove the ribs. Pull pin bones.

1. Slice into discs.
2. Braise in vegetable stock with star anise, until completely tender.

Tangerine Peel
1. Wash tangerine. Microplane.
2. Blanch in light simple syrup (2T sugar : 4 T water)
3. Dehydrate.

Place the fish on its side and open the belly-flap. Season the cavity with kosher salt. Sprinkle the flesh evenly with minced ginger, garlic, and scallion. Do the same with black beans. Stuff with 4-5 slices of braised fennel. Squirt the sake, veg stock, and EVO inside the cavity as well.

Place on a lightly EVO-oiled piece of parchment and steam for 10-12 minutes. Check the done-ness by opening the belly flap with a spatula – if the flesh way inside, by the spine is white, the fish is fully cooked.

Garnish with chili oil, sliced scallion green, fennel frond, and dried tangerine peel. Serve with steamed rice. Serves 4.

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