Recipe: Steamed Fish Head with Black Bean & Garlic Sauce

When you are born into a family of fishmongers (my grandparents were fishmongers and so was my dad), imagine what the common dishes on the dinner table would be!!  I remembered the good old days when my dad will bring back a packet or two of seafood daily for my mum to cook. How fortunate we were then and yet I didn’t appreciate it. Haiz!!

In my opinion, the most important thing to take note of when you want to steam fish is to choose and buy the freshest fish you can find. Steaming is great as it is healthier choice. The freshness of the fish head topped with loads of black bean and garlic sauce goes so well with steamed rice. Just one word to describe this dish, “YUMMILICIOUS”!!

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Serves 4 persons



1 large fish head (700 to 800g)

30g ginger, thickly sliced

¼ tsp salt

For the sauce:

2 tablespoons cooking oil

6 cloves garlic, chopped

6 shallots, chopped

30g ginger, finely chopped

3 bird eye chillies, finely minced

30g fermented black beans, slightly crushed

2½ tablespoons Shaoxing wine

1 stalk spring onion, finely sliced

Other ingredients

2 red chillies, juvenile



  1. Remove any blood and impurities from the fish head and rinse with clean water.
  2. Rub salt on both sides of the fish head and set aside.
  3. In a heatproof dish, place the ginger slices then place the fish head on top of the ginger slices.
  4. Steam for 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce:

  1. In a pan, heat the oil on medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic and fry at low heat for ½ a minute.
  3. Add the shallots and ginger and fry till fragrant.
  4. Add the chopped chilli.
  5. Add the fermented black beans.
  6. Cook the mixture over low heat for 2 minutes then add the Shaoxing wine.
  7. Add the liquid from the steam fish, and the spring onions then give it a quick stir. Turn off the heat.
  8. Ladle the mixture over the fish head and garnish with coriander and red chilli.
  9. Then serve immediately with steamed rice.


  1. You may use Carp (Song fish) but personally I am not a fan of freshwater fish, so I used Red Snapper.
  2. It is important to clean the fish head before steaming as I prefer to keep the liquid after the steaming.

Mummy's Kitchen

Hi! My name is Josephine Go. I blog at in a segment called Mummy’s Kitchen. I love to use fresh and natural ingredients in my cooking to promote healthy eating. Some of my recipes may not be in line with the traditional methods of cooking to the extent that some of the ingredients are different, but hopefully new recipes are being created in my style. I certainly hope that what I do will help guide kitchen first-timers on how to cook their first meal as well as further equip kitchen veterans with new recipes. My loving husband and two wonderful children are my best guinea pigs and critics. They have enjoyed (or endured) the food that has been served to them for all these years. Mind you, I did not know how to cook or ever knew that I could cook till I got married. So there is hope for everyone. If I can cook, you can cook. You will not know how good or talented you are until you put your hand in the plough.

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