fbpx

Quick & Easy Steamed Fish

Share this article:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on pinterest

There are many ways to cook a delicious fish – you can fry it, poach it, and even grind it into a paste for fish skewers or fish cakes. Steaming it, however, remains a popular method of cooking fish, particularly among Asian households, as it brings out the fish’s naturally sweet flavour while retaining the flesh’s soft and flaky texture.

This cooking method is also relatively easy for beginners and a good option if you’re pinched for time. You don’t even need to filet the fish – in fact, it is often served whole. All you need to do is to remove the scales and its innards, which oftentimes, your fishmonger will see to. It cooks quickly in a steamer, or on top of a wire rack placed in a wok filled with a little boiling water. It is also a very healthy way of cooking fish, as virtually no oil or fat is used.

But not all types of fish are suitable for steaming. Whitefish is most suitable for steaming – popular choices include snapper, grouper, halibut, cod and trout. Salmon works for some recipes, too.

The most popular style of steaming fish is Chinese style, which is to flavour it with soy sauce, sliced chilli, spring onion and coriander. This recipe requires very fresh fish – live fish is best, but if you can’t get your hands on one, you need to know what signs to look out for when it comes to choosing fresh fish.

Fresh fish have bright, clear eyes and red gills. It should have a mild smell – a strong fishy smell means the fish has been sitting out for too long.

Still, even the freshest fish will have a slight fishy odour. To remove the odour, douse the fish in rice wine before cooking, and use generous amounts of garlic and ginger. Or instead, a dash of lime or lemon as a fish “cleanse” during steaming.

On top of Chinese-style steamed fish, here are two other recipes for steamed fish worth exploring.

Chinese steamed fish (adapted from The Woks of Life)

Serves 3 to 4

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium white fish, whole or filet
  • 2 sprigs of spring onion, cut into thin strips
  • 1 bunch of coriander, cut into thin strips
  • 2 knobs of ginger, about 1 inch in diameter, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 red chilli, sliced (optional)

Tip: Use an oval or oblong plate for steaming, so you don’t have to transfer a fragile steamed fish from wok or steamer to a serving plate.

The fish water will have a fishy smell, so discard the water from the bottom of the plate after the fish is cooked.

There are many variations of the basic Chinese-style steamed fish. One example is to use fermented black bean paste or miso paste as a base for the sauce of the fish. Simply fry the bean paste with ginger or garlic and top the fish with the mixture before serving.

Instructions:

  1. Rinse fish well. Combine soy sauce, salt, sugar and water into a small bowl and mix well.
  2. Fill wok or steamer with an inch of water and bring to boil. Place fish on a plate. If using whole fish, prop the fish up by resting it on a wooden chopstick or skewer, placed horizontally on the plate. This is to prevent the fish from sticking to the plate. Turn the heat down so the water simmers. Cover the wok.
  3. Steam for 10 minutes, until fish is easily sliced to the bottom. Turn off heat.
  4. Remove the plate from steamer or wok and drain water from the plate. Spread the cilantro and a third of the spring onion on the fish.
  5. Heat a small saucepan to medium to high heat. Add oil, then brown the ginger in the pan.
  6. When the mixture sizzles, add soy sauce, sugar, salt and water mixture. Mix well and cook for 30 seconds. Take it off the heat and spoon the mixture over the fish. Serve immediately with coriander and scallions. Garnish with red chilli.

Steamed fish with Thai green curry sauce

Serves 3 to 4

Preparation time: 20 to 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium fish filet
  • 1/2 cup of canned coconut milk. Shake well before opening.
  • 2 tablespoons green curry paste (adjust according to spiciness preference)
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 sprig of cilantro to garnish
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil to medium to high heat. Add green curry paste and fry till fragrant. Add coconut milk and fish sauce. Lower heat to simmer. Do not let the green curry mixture boil or the coconut milk will curdle!
  2. Set the curry mixture aside. Fill a wok with 1 inch of water and place a wire rack on top. Bring water to boil. Lay fish fillets out on a plate. Add green curry mixture on top of the fish and place the fish into the wok. Turn the fire down so the water simmers and cover the wok.
  3. Steam for 6 to 8 minutes or until fish is easily sliced through to the bottom.
  4. Remove the plate from wok. Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Tip: Fry some shallots and use it as a topping. Fried shallots complement the mildness of green curry well. Serve with white jasmine rice for full effect.

Lemon and dill salmon

This is for those who like a Western twist on steamed fish. Lemon complements the taste of salmon while dill’s unmistakable fragrance gives the dish a well-rounded feel.

Serves: 3 to 4

Preparation time: 20 to 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 salmon filets
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • 4 large sprigs of fresh dill
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • A dash of olive oil for drizzling
  • Optional: Greek yoghurt as a topping or a dressing

Ingredients:

  1. Slice lemons thinly and arrange all over a plate. Lay dill over the lemon slices.
  2. Season both sides of the salmon with salt and pepper. Place the salmon over the dill. Space the filets out so the steam can cook each filet evenly.
  3. Place the plate in a wok or a pan with an inch of boiling water. Turn down to a simmer. Place the filets into the wok and steam for 5 to 10 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the salmon, as it will lose its sweetness.
  4. Remove the salmon from the wok once it is cooked. Squeeze lemon juice on top and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.

Tip: Try serving the salmon with toasted rye bread, with Greek yoghurt as a dressing, some sprinklings of dill and freshly cracked black pepper to finish it off. Nordic feels await with this easy to make a salmon sandwich.

 

Share this article:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on pinterest

RELATED ARTICLES

RELATED ARTICLES

RECENT POSTS

Easy Breakfast Ideas For Your Morning Routine: Cinnamon Banana Pancakes

Whether you’re working from home or easing into the weekend, there’s no question that a good and hearty breakfast really helps to kickstart your day. We’ve got the perfect quick recipe for you – pancakes loaded with bananas, with an added dose of cinnamon. You can customize this recipe any way you like it – add sliced strawberries and whipped cream for a more indulgent treat, or perhaps some chocolate chips if you’re a chocolate fan. Also, with all pancakes, …

Your Quick At-Home Lunch: Spaghetti Carbonara!

Spaghetti carbonara (or pasta carbonara) – simple, filling and perfect to toss together for a quick mid-day lunch. A little tip for those making carbonara – you don’t actually need to use heavy cream! The creaminess of a simple carbonara comes from the mixture of eggs and cheese, and the heat from your just-cooked pasta to bring it all together. The best thing about pasta carbonara is that you probably already have these ingredients in your fridge! It’s just spaghetti …

Slicing Onions Doesn’t Always Have to be a Tearful Affair.

From fresh salads to hearty stews, onions are a key ingredient in many dishes. They are loved for their natural sweetness and are used in classic kitchen staples like pasta sauce and Asian stir-fries. The humble yet versatile onion can even be separated into rings and dipped into the batter to be deep-fried into onion rings, or caramelised and served in sandwiches and burgers. But there is one other thing that onions are notorious for – bringing people to tears. …

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on pinterest