Steamed Lapu-Lapu with Mayonnaise

Steamed Lapu-Lapu with Mayonnaise is a traditional Christmas dish made with steamed grouper fish topped with mayonnaise and garnished with chopped eggs, sweet pickle relish, carrots, and bell peppers. It’s as pretty as it is tasty!

This steamed lapu-lapu with mayonnaise has been on my to-do list since last Christmas, but I couldn’t find fresh grouper big enough for the recipe until the holidays passed. Imagine my delight when I finally chanced upon ones that are upward 3 to 5 pounds in size at our neighborhood Asian mart.

They weren’t exactly cheap at 5.99 a pound. I almost choked, coughing up twenty-five dollars for my fish at the checkout counter. But, oh my, was every morsel worth the stiff price!

If you’re looking for an impressive Noche Buena centerpiece, this Lapu Lapu de la Reyna is it! This recipe is an easy way to level up your favorite fish into a holiday-worthy dish that’s sure to wow your guests.

The generous smothering of mayo adds a creamy flavor while the array of toppings complements the exquisite flavor of the steamed fish, and the festive color combination jazzes it up in Christmas-style.

Cooking directions

  • Clean, scale, and gut the fish, making sure all innards are removed as they can leave a malodor.
  •  Season inside out with salt, pepper, and tamarind powder. You can also use garlic powder for more flavor and dried red chili pepper flakes for a touch of heat.
  • Stuff the cavity with lemon wedges and green onions. Arrange the fish in a steamer rack and steam for about 20 to 25 minutes or until it easily flakes with a fork.
  • Carefully remove the fish from the steamer and transfer to a serving platter. Remove stuffing and allow the fish to cool completely.
  • Generously coat the whole top of the fish with mayonnaise and dress with toppings of choice.
  • Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

  • Grouper is traditionally used in pescao de mayonesa, but any large white-fleshed fish such as maya-maya and tilapia will also work.
  • I like to garnish the steamed fish with chopped egg whites, yolks, carrots, roasted red bell peppers, and sweet pickle relish, but chopped red onions, olives, and celery are also great options.
  • If you’d like to cut down on the calories, swap the mayonnaise with sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.

How to serve

  • This steamed fish with mayonnaise is a classic Filipino dish usually served for Christmas season, fiestas, and other special occasions. It makes a great addition to your Noche Buena along with this slow cooker ham with pineapple.
  • Enjoy the lapu-lapu chilled. Make sure to refrigerate the fish until completely cold before garnishing to prevent the mayo from melting.
  • For food safety and best quality, do not keep the prepared fish at room temperature for more than 2 hours.  Refrigerate leftovers in a storage container with a lid for up to 3 days.



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