Happy Donabe Life

Chinese-Style Steamed Fish

Sakana no Chuka-Mushi

This colorful treat is an easy one-pot dish with a lot of flavors. I like to use black cod for its fatty texture for this dish, but you can also make it with other kinds of fish such as yellowtail, sea bass, salmon, etc. The sizzling sound and aroma of the smoking sesame oil when it’s poured over the fish stimulate your appetite so much. With the umami-rich sauce and aromatic toppings, this dish can become a healthy and satisfying main course.


Mushi Nabe (large) and Multi-purpose Bowl


3 - 4



  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ayu fish sauce (can substitute with additional soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon Japanese black vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon raw brown sugar


  • 1 lb (450 g) black cod filet, cut into 6 – 8 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced ginger
  • 1 oz (30 g) carrot, julienned
  • 2 green onions, finely julienned
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest, cut into fine threads
  • 1 teaspoon sliced dry chili (can substitute with 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil


  1. Mix together all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Combine the fish with the sake and the salt in a bowl. Mix well. Cover with plastic and set aside for 15 – 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, get Mushi Nabe ready according to the basic steaming instructions.
  4. Pat dry the fish and place them in an even layer on the shallow bowl for steaming. Sprinkle the minced garlic and ginger over the fish.
  5. Place the bowl on the steam grate, cover with lid, and steam the fish over medium-high heat for 5 – 7 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Turn off the heat. Uncover and top the fish with the carrot, green onions, cilantro, lemon zest and dry chili.
  6. Heat the sesame oil in a small pan over high heat. As soon as it starts smoking (1 -2 minutes), remove from the heat, and pour over the fish with the toppings. The sizzling hot oil might splash, so please be careful.
  7. Pour the sauce, and serve immediately.

Fish is steamed with minced garlic and ginger on top. Very aromatic.
With the sizzling sesame oil and sauce, the dish is ready.


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