Steamed whole tilapia with ginger and soy sauce Steamed whole tilapia with ginger and soy sauce

The dish that launched this blog. Literally. More than seven years ago, I was contributing articles to a business news website and starting my own blog. I posted a photo and recipe of a simple steamed tilapia dish, the business website editor saw it and said I had a gold mine in there. Well, “gold mine” is figurative but that encouraged me enough to get serious about food blogging.

I guess I’m looking back at this blog’s beginnings and getting sappy about it. Lots of things are happening — moving and moving on — and it feels good to be able to look back. So, I’m reposting this entry with an updated recipe and a new photo.

Not just plain steamed fish, but with all the spices that make it special. No fishy smell. No mess. No fat. No fishy smell either. How? Ginger not only gets rid of the fishy smell, it flavors the fish wonderfully too. Combined with garlic, plain fish becomes a treat. A dash of sesame seed oil gives this dish an oreintal aroma. This is a simpler version of steamed whole fish.


  • 1 large tilapia, about 800 g.
    1 Tbsp. of julienned ginger (aside from the flavor, ginger gets rid of the fishy smell)
    plenty of crushed garlic
    3 to 4 tbsp. light soy sauce
    1 tbsp. citus juice (calamansi, lemon or lime)
    freshly cracked black pepper
    1 tbsp. of sesame oil
    finely sliced onion leaves for garnish


  1. Boil plenty of water in a steamer.

    Slash (score) the fish (see tips).

    Stuff the cavity with half of the garlic and ginger, and some pepper.

    Rub half of the soy sauce and citus juice all over and inside (the cavity from where the intestines have been removed) the fish.

    Lay the fish on a heatproof dish. Pour the remaining soy sauce and citrus juice over and around it. Sprinkle the remaining garlic and ginger. Crack more black pepper over it.

    Steam over briskly boiling water for about 20 minutes.

    Garnish with onion leaves. Heat the sesame see oil until smoking. Pour over the fish. Serve at once.

Cooking time (duration): 30 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 2

Meal type: lunch / supper

Connie Veneracion

Hello, my name is Connie Veneracion. I cook, I shoot, I write. But I don't do the laundry. I don't like housekeeping very much either... (more about me)

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16 Responses

  1. felixberto says:

    looks good connie. do i see onions on your picture?

  2. Connie says:

    yeah, and i forgot to list it among the ingredients. LOL

  3. AiDiSan says:

    hi ms. connie,

    this is super easy to do, i’m gonna try this for my family this weekend. can i substitute the sesami oil for olive oil?

  4. Sanura says:

    This recipe clarified how to cook a whole fish. What is calamansi?

  5. Joy says:

    That looks so good. Good job on your blog. I don’t believe you have been blogging for 7 years.

  6. m.keniston says:

    yummmms. u can add in some black beans or taosi too!

  7. sweetos says:

    my partner loves tilapia… and i bet he will love this.. and by the way.. the tilapia recipes here helps me create variety of dishes out of his fave fish!!! kudos!

  8. Robert says:

    I just found this website. Its unbelievably awesome. I love the authentiicty and the simplicity of our dishes. Oh yeah ginger and soy? That is simply awesome I could imagine the flavors! I miss my mom’s cooking but the dishes here simply impresses me.

  9. Ernest Parco says:

    Hi, Ms Connie…of all the ‘how to cook websites I visited, it’s yours I keep coming back for more. I’ve learned a lot from here since I came here in Abu Dhabi on my own. And by the way, can I use a bamboo steamer covering the fish in an aluminium foil? Thanks, Ms Connie, your tips are a big help to me.

  1. July 4, 2010

    […] love steamed whole fish. But not all kinds of fish are good for steaming. My top preferences are tilapia and pompano and both are available all-year round in wet markets. Tilapia can either be saltwater […]

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