10 Best Chinese healthy steamed dishes you could try

One of the biggest differences between Chinese and western cooking is that there’s not so much deep-frying, oven roasting or baking involved in the Chinese home cooking process,, and generally a lot more stir-frying and steaming. Barbecuing (grilling) is quite commonplace however!

Instead of baking, even for the final touch after boiling, stir-frying or simmering, most of the time Chinese people will either stir-fry to fully cooked, or they’ll combine steaming with stir-frying.

  • Another noteworthy difference is that Chinese don’t use much cheese (or butter) compared to many other countries.
  • This is mostly because most Chinese milk is produced in Nei Menggu – Inner Mongolia, and used for all of China’s milk requirements – so this means cheese making gets kind of left at the back of the queue!
  • Steamed dishes are healthier than fried dishes, using less oil, and producing less smoke!

This is a guide to some of the best healthy Chinese steamed dishes; all the dishes introduced below are chosen for easy home cooking and preparation, low in oil and fat, and popular on Chinese tables.

They’re surprisingly delicious, and ideal for western tastebuds considering they’re steamed dishes.

1. Shrimp with vermicelli and garlic

The heavy garlic seafood sauce flavour blends well with the freshness of juicy shrimps. The vermicelli at the bottom means you don’t waste a drop of the tasty juices. Adding some Chinese yellow wine to enhance the aroma and highlight the flavor is the secret to this success with this delicacy.

Vermicelli is just an easy way of saying, for better understanding, in fact, the name is 粉丝(pinyin: fěn sī)a type of Chinese thread noodle made from bean starch.

Healthy Chinese dish shrimp with vermicelli and garlic
Healthy Chinese steamed dish: shrimp with fensi and garlic
  • Chinese name: 蒜蓉粉丝蒸虾
  • Steaming time: 10 min

2. Sliced steamed pork with rice powder spice coating

Easy homemade recipe: Depends on whether or not you can get the spicy steam powder (蒸肉粉: zhēng ròu fěn: steam meat powder – seasoning powder) from a Chinese supermarket near your street block, if it’s yes, then this dish could be a regular lazy quick meal choice!

healthy chinese dish pork slices steamed with rice coating
Chinese steamed dish: pork slices steamed with rice coating
  • Chinese name: 粉蒸肉
  • Time to steam: 15-18 min

3.Minced pork steamed with bean curd

Healthy Chinese dish: healthy Chinese dish minced pork-steamed with bean curb
Healthy Chinese dish: minced pork-steamed with bean curb
  • Chinese name: 肉末蒸豆腐
  • Time to steam: 11-15 min

4. Steamed minced pork pie with egg

Easy homemade recipe: use minced pork and mushroom to create the meat pie, stir up together with an egg, one spoonful of flour, some salt and oyster sauce. Steam the eggs on top for the last five minutes.

Steamed meat pie with egg
  • Chinese name: 鸡蛋蒸肉饼
  • Time to steam: 11-15 min

5. Steamed sea pomfret

My personal favourite! If you live in a coastline city with fresh sea pomfret available daily in the markets, I strongly recommended you to try it at least once. (Various species of pomfret are available in many large supermarket chains if you’re not on the coast!)

Easy homemade recipe:

It is so effortless to make, all you need to do is salt and savour the fish, let it sit for 15-20 minutes, then put it in a steamer for around 15-18 minutes (depends on its size), meanwhile you can prepare the “magic sauce” to spread on top of the fish when it’s done. It normally takes less than half an hour to make.

The recipe for “magic sauce” I often use is a mixture of oyster sauce, soybean sauce, and olive oil, perhaps a splash of avocado oil. Don’t forget a drizzle of lemon juice and a few strips of peel to really bring out the flavors.

  • Chinese name: 清蒸海昌鱼
  • Time to steam: 15-18 min

Fish symbolizes surplus in Chinese culture, is one of the 12 must-eat lucky Chinese New Year dishes during the Spring festival.

6. Steamed seashells with garlic

Healthy Chinese dish steamed seashells with garlic
Healthy Chinese dish steamed seashells with garlic

  • Chinese name: 蒜蓉粉丝蒸扇贝
  • Time to steam: 15-30 min

7. Egg steamed with shrimp

A dish that’s always very popular with kids, whisk some eggs and mix the liquid with either a splash of milk or water, together with whole shrimp, put in steamer, when it’s done, what can I say, soft, juicy and yummy!

Healthy Chinese dish: Egg Steamed with Shrimp

Healthy Chinese dish: Egg Steamed with Shrimp

  • Chinese name: 鲜虾蒸滑蛋
  • Time to steam: 11-15 min

8.Steamed egg

Quick choice to make for breakfast – simply whisk, add ‘extras’ and seasoning to taste, and steam!

  • Chinese name: 鸡蛋羹
  • Time to steam: 10 min

9. Steamed luffa (or loofah!*)

The type of stuffing can vary to personal preference, this way the dish is a great choice for vegetarians. Or use minced beef or pork mixed with mushroom, anything you like!

* Yes, *loofah – the thing Brits used to scrub their backs with in the bath: From Google: ‘Luffa is a genus of tropical and subtropical vines in the cucumber family (Cucurbitaceae) In everyday non-technical usage, the luffa, which is also also spelled loofah, usually refers to the fruits of the species Luffa aegyptiaca and Luffa acutangula.’

healthy Chinese dish steamed loofah

Steamed loofah with garlic and bacon

  • Chinese name: 蒸丝瓜
  • Time to steam: 8 – 15 minutes, depends on whether using meat-filling.

10. Baby Chinese cabbage steamed with garlic and vermicelli

This a very good choice if you’re vegetarian or for a no-meat meal, totally no meat or animal fat involved.

  • Chinese name: 蒜蓉粉丝娃娃菜
  • Time to steam: 10 min

If you like this article and wish us to provide a more detailed description and maybe a video tutorial for any particular recipe of the dishes mentioned above, please let us know – leave a comment below! ~

3 thoughts on “10 Best Chinese healthy steamed dishes you could try

  1. There are other steamed dishes in China, such as steamed mushroom, steamed meatbun.. though, not all of them are vegetarian food, they are yummy as well

  2. Hi, thanks for suggesting these, indeed these are great dishes as well, I will find some time to write about them.

Comments are closed.