How to Cook Steamed Fish with Choy Poh (Preserved Radish)

I’ve previously posted a couple of steamed fish recipes with preserved vegetables, and this is a variation on one of them; this time around, I’m using barramundi instead of silver perch (though, really, this would work with most white fish/fish fillets).

Since I get asked all the time, I’m also showing you the type of  “choy poh” ie. preserved radish that I use in this and in some of my other dishes (notably the Chai Tow Kway aka Char Kway Kak aka Fried Radish Cake that I used to sell).

It seems to me that most people who grew up in Chinese households think of one particular type of preserved radish ie. the super salty variety, when I reference the ingredient in any of my recipes.

That’s not the one I use; I get the Thai preserved radish that’s pre-minced, and which is slightly sweetened and much less salty.  These are some examples of what they look like, so keep an eye out for them next time you’re at your Asian grocery store –

I get this brand but with blue stamp rather than yellow (they didn’t have it on the shelves on this particular visit) because it’s sweeter and less salty.

As with a lot of Asian ingredients, they are sometimes known by different names; in this case it’s called turnip rather than radish, but it’s the same thing

The key thing is to look for the “Made in Thailand” product rather than the “Made in China” version; the latter is the uber salty choy poh (chye poh in Mandarin) your mom (and mine) uses in her Chinese home cooking, which requires rinsing and  which sometimes comes in finger-sized chunks.

Steamed Whole Fish with Choy Poh (Preserved Radish)


  • 1 x 700g whole barramundi, cleaned
  • 1 stalk green onion
  • 3 Tbsps minced preserved radish
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 Tbsp light soya sauce
  • 1 tsp chicken powder
  • ½ Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp oyster sauce or preserved soya beans
  • 2 TBS Shaoxing rice wine (optional)
  • 200ml water
  • 1 Tbsp oil


  1. Fill steamer with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Place green onion on a plate in steamer basket and arrange fish on top.
  3. Steam for about 8-10 minutes, then remove from heat. Transfer fish to a serving dish, minus the juices from the steamer.
  4. Heat up some oil in a saucepan, then saute ginger, garlic and preserved radish until garlic is lightly browned.
  5. Reduce heat and add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, mix well, then remove from heat.
  6. Pour sauce over fish and serve.



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