Dinner Tonight: Chinese Steamed Trout With Fermented Black Beans

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Dinner Tonight: Chinese Steamed Trout With Fermented Black Beans

"This is no simple steamed fish."

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

If you haven't been able to tell, I'm on a little bit of a Chinese cuisine kick. I'm still a total novice and just following whatever trail I can find. Somehow I ended up at All Fish Seafood Recipes, a dubious looking site. But it happened to have a steamed fish recipe that combined fermented black beans, ginger, garlic, and Shaoxing wine. And you know what? It actually worked.

Fermented black beans are the only tricky ingredient to find. You'll probably have to search for them in a Chinese grocery store. They are, unfortunately, indispensable. They have a distinct salty profile that really makes this dish more hedonistic and delicious than it has any right to be. This is no simple steamed fish.

The only question I have is how best to properly serve this thing. My wife and I just picked at it with chopsticks. I'm sure you could have elegantly filleted it. I know it doesn't look like the most beautiful piece of fish, but it was certainly tasty.


  • 1 trout, cleaned with head still on
  • 2 slices ginger
  • 1 tablespoon fermented black beans
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoons thick soy sauce


  1. 1.

    Stuff the cavity of the fish the ginger.

  2. 2.

    Mash together the black beans, sugar, and wine. Stir this mixture together with the garlic. Then spread this mixture on top of the fish. Place the fish a steamer basket.

  3. 3.

    Pour a few inches of water into a large pot and bring to a boil. Set the fish and the steamer basket into the pot. Cover and cook for 6 to 8, or until the meat flakes. When done, turn off the heat and remove the cover.

  4. 4.

    Pour the oil into a skillet set over high heat. When it just starts smoke, turn off the heat and pour the oil over the fish. Then remove the fish from the steamer basket and place on a platter. Drizzle the thick soy sauce over it. Serve.

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