Steamed whole pomfret and pak choy

When we were in Indonesia a few months ago, we had barbequed pomfret and the taste has stayed with me since. The weird thing is that I practically grew up eating pomfret every other day or so, however, my relationship with food back then wasn’t a good one, and now I wish I hadn’t taken all that yummy fish meals for granted.

We knew of a good fish monger in an asian supermarket at Staples Corner who sells good seafood. We bought 2 whole pomfrets for around £6.58 (my mum probably buys them for the equivalent of £0.70 per fish).  We got the fish monger to gut the fish (which I have no qualms doing this myself at home, but they offered to do it FOC, so why not eh?). Once I got home, I scored the fish widthways and rubbed them with a mixture of 1tsp turmeric, 1tsp chilli powder and 1/2 tsp salt and left them to marinade for 30 minutes.

I wanted to serve them whole, part fried, part steamed on a bed of pak choy and served with a caramelised shallots and ginger sauce.


  • 2 whole pomfrets, cleaned, gutted
  • 2 x 1 inch ginger, julienned
  • 3 shallots, finely sliced
  • 1/4 red chilli, finely sliced
  • a handful of coriander leaves
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp dark soy (kicap manis)
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ground white pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 x 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 packet pak choy


  1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan. Once hot, fry the pomfret (1 fish at a time) for 3 minutes on either side
  2. Tear off some foil and create a ring/crown
  3. Drain the frying pan off, place the crown in the middle of it
  4. Place a dinner plate on the crown, transfer both fish onto it
  5. Place pan on the stove and turn on the heat to a medium
  6. Fill the frying pan with boiling water (water should be a lot lower than the plate)
  7. Cover the frying pan with a lid and leave the fish to steam for 5 – 6 minutes
  8. Get another steamer on, and steam the pak choy leaves for 3 – 4 minutes
  9. On a plate, arrange the steamed pak choy and season with a pinch of salt
  10. Place the steamed fish on top of the pak choy and garnish with coriander leaves
  11. Drain the frying pan and place it back on the stove
  12. Once dry, add the remaining oil to the pan
  13. Fry the shallots until they turn brown (3 -4 minutes)
  14. Add the ginger to the shallots, and fry for 2 minutes and add the chillies. Stir for a minute
  15. Add the dark soy, oyster sauce and water and leave to simmer for a minute
  16. Pour in the rice wine and leave for 30 seconds
  17. Season with sesame oil, salt, ground white pepper and sugar
  18. Pour the sauce over the fish and pak choy
  19. Serve with basmati rice

The fish was very meaty, and as tasty as I had remembered it.  Just one portion went a long way and together with the pak choy, this was a very satisfying meal. The caramelised shallots were lovely, and the ginger was very comforting for that sore throat. I could have eaten just the rice and sauce alone!


One thought on “Steamed whole pomfret and pak choy

  1. Pingback: Malaysian-style butter prawns « Chronicles of a cookbookworm

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