Originally described here:
POACHED FISH CHINESE STYLE
Purchase a live fish of between one and two pounds, and bring it home.
Smack it over the head with a heavy object, gut it, clean it, scrape it, and rinse.
If it is particularly thick, slash it on both sides.
Bring a large cauldron half-filled with water to a roiling boil.
Slip the fish in, and when it boils again, lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for two minutes.
Turn off the heat and let it sit for between seven and ten minutes (depending on how large your fish is), at which point it will be done just right.
Remove to a platter and strew very finely slivered ginger over.
Heat up a little oil in a fry-pan, and sauté a little coarse-chopped garlic. Add a splash sherry or rice wine, a drizzle soy sauce, followed by a hefty pinch of sugar. Boil briefly together, then pour over the fish.
Add some cilantro and shredded green onion.
As an alternative, you can steam the fish.
After gutting, cleaning, scraping, and rinsing, rub it with a little oil (sesame and plain oil mixed) and place it on a plate. Whether you add sliced ginger, cut scallion, or even slivers of green chilipepper around it, is up to you - these will aromatize the fish, but as you plan to discard the steaming juices anyway, they are not really germane.
Bring a large steamer to a boil, set the plate therein, and steam for about seven to ten minutes, according to the size of the fish.
Undercooking is best, as once you remove it from the steamer the heat remaining in the flesh will continue to affect it.
When you take the fish out, slide it onto a clean plate.
Garnish with shredded ginger and scallion, and pour a little sweet soy sauce (ketjap manis) over.
Fish either steamed or poached, with some stirfried kailan or yuenchoy, a few pieces of boiled potato avec persil, and plain white rice, is a feast.
As with everything, a dab of chilipaste on the side is nice, but not necessary.