Steaming is one of the favorite ways of cooking fish in china, especially when it is very fresh; and the usual way is to steam it buried under a variety of vegetables, while the inside cavity of the fish is stuffed with dried, smoked, pickled or salted ingredients; these latter ingredients seem to impart an additional dimension to the flavor. Here is one of the common cooked recipe :
Steamed Whole Fish (trout, salmon, bream, haddock, carp, mullet, pike, large herrings)
6 medium Chinese dried mushrooms
2-3 rashers bacon
3-4 slices root ginger
1.5-2 kg fish (or mixture of fishes)
2-3 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3-4 stalks leek
3-4 large onions
4 tablespoons soya sauce
pepper to taste
2 tablespoons vinegar
4 tablespoons chicken stock
2 tablespoons sherry
2 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter
Soak mushrooms in water for 30 minutes. Cut mushrooms and bacon into shreds. Mince ginger. Clean the fish thoroughly, rub both inside and out with salt, ginger and oil and leave to marinate for 1 hour. Stuff the fish with the chopped bacon and mushrooms. Clean the leeks thoroughly then slice both leeks and onions thinly. Mix soya sauce, pepper, vinegar, stock, sherry and sugar until well blended.
Heat butter in a saucepan. When melted add onions and leeks and turn them in the butter over medium heat for 1 minute. Pour in the mixed sauce, and stir with the vegetables for 2 minutes over medium heat.
Place a quarter of the vegetable and sauce mixture in the bottom of the large oval-shaped heatproof dish spreading it out evenly. Lay the fish on top of this 'carpet' of onion and leek. Pour the sauce form the saucepan over the length of the fish, and smother the latter with the remaining onion and leek. Place the dish in a steamer, and steam vigorously for 20-35 minutes (depending upon the size, thickness and quantity of the dish).
ServingServe in the same dish. (The dish should be excellent for consuming with rice or other bulk foods, supplemented by one or two other savory dishes