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Top Tips for Steaming Fish: The Best Way to Cook Your Catch

Steaming fish is a healthy and easy way to cook fish. Whether you are a seasoned cook or a beginner, steaming is an excellent option that yields tasty and nutritious results.

In this article, you will learn the essentials of steaming fish, flavouring and serving suggestions, and frequently asked questions.

Steam rises from a pot of water on a stove. A whole fish rests on a bed of herbs and aromatics inside a bamboo steamer

Steaming fish is a gentle and low-fat cooking method that preserves the delicate texture and flavour of fish. Unlike frying or grilling, steaming requires minimal oil and does not produce smoke or odours.

Steaming is also versatile and can be used to cook various types of fish, from delicate white fish to oily salmon and trout.

Key Takeaways

  • Steaming is a healthy and easy way to cook fish that preserves its delicate texture and flavour.
  • To steam fish, you need a steamer basket or a plate, a pot or a wok with a lid, and some water.
  • You can flavour steamed fish with various herbs, spices, and sauces, and serve it with rice, vegetables, or noodles.

Essentials of Steaming Fish

Fresh fish placed on a steamer basket over boiling water, surrounded by aromatic herbs and vegetables

Choosing the Right Fish

When it comes to steaming fish, it's important to choose the right type of fish. Fresh fish is always the best option, and you can get it from your local fishmonger or supermarket.

Whole fish, such as snapper, bass or tilapia, are great for steaming, but you can also use fish fillets, such as cod, halibut, salmon, striped bass or other white fish fillets.

Preparation Before Steaming

Before steaming your fish, it's important to clean it properly. Remove the scales and guts, and rinse the fish thoroughly under cold water.

Pat it dry with a paper towel and set it aside.

Next, prepare your steamer by bringing water to a boil in a wok or a pot with a steamer rack.

If you're using a bamboo steamer, make sure to soak it in water for at least 30 minutes before using it.

Place the fish on a heat-proof plate or a shallow dish that fits inside your steamer.

Add some aromatics, such as scallions and ginger, on top of the fish.

Cover the dish with a lid or a piece of foil, making sure it's tightly sealed.

Steaming Time and Doneness

The steaming time will depend on the thickness and texture of the fish. As a general rule, steam the fish for about 8-10 minutes per inch of thickness.

To check if the fish is done, insert a butter knife into the thickest part of the fish. If it goes in easily and the flesh is opaque, the fish is done.

Once the fish is cooked, remove it from the steamer and serve it immediately with some steamed rice and vegetables. Steamed fish is a healthy and delicious dish that's easy to prepare and perfect for any occasion.

Flavouring and Serving Suggestions

Fresh herbs and citrus slices surround a steaming fish on a bed of vibrant vegetables, with a side of aromatic rice

Now that you know how to steam fish perfectly, it's time to add some flavour to it. Here are some suggestions to make your steamed fish taste even better:

  • Sauces: You can serve your steamed fish with a variety of sauces. Soy sauce is a classic choice, but you can also use oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, or sweet chili sauce.

    You can even create your own sauce by combining soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and chili flakes.

  • Herbs: Adding herbs like cilantro or green onion can add a burst of flavour to your steamed fish.

    You can sprinkle them on top of the fish before steaming or use them as a garnish after steaming.

  • Spices: Adding spices like garlic or ginger can give your steamed fish a kick of flavour.

    You can add them to the fish before steaming or sauté them in hot oil and pour the mixture over the fish after steaming.

  • Vegetables: Steamed fish pairs well with steamed vegetables like bok choy, broccoli, or carrots.

    You can steam the vegetables along with the fish or serve them on the side.

  • Rice: Steamed white rice is the perfect accompaniment to steamed fish.

    You can serve the fish on top of the rice or on the side.

  • Variations: There are many variations on steamed fish. You can try using different types of fish or different seasonings.

    You can also try steaming the fish with julienned vegetables or herbs.

Frequently Asked Questions

A steaming pot with fish inside, surrounded by aromatic herbs and spices, steam rising from the pot

What's the best technique for steaming fish in a pan?

Steaming fish in a pan is a popular technique and is relatively easy to do.

Start by cleaning the fish and patting it dry. Then, season it with salt and pepper, or any other seasoning of your choice.

Next, place the fish on a heatproof plate and put it in a pan.

Add enough water to the pan so that it reaches just below the plate. Cover the pan and let the fish steam until it's cooked through. This usually takes about 8-10 minutes for a fillet.

Can you give me some tips on using a steamer for fish?

Using a steamer is a great way to cook fish as it retains the nutrients and flavour.

When using a steamer, ensure that the water is boiling before you add the fish. This will help to cook the fish evenly and prevent it from sticking to the steamer basket.

Also, make sure that the fish is not overcrowded in the steamer basket, as this can cause uneven cooking.

Finally, add some aromatics like ginger, garlic, or herbs to the water to infuse the fish with more flavour.

What's a healthy recipe for steamed fish?

Steamed fish is a healthy and delicious meal option.

A simple recipe is to steam a fillet of fish with some sliced ginger, garlic, and scallions.

Drizzle some soy sauce and sesame oil over the fish once it's cooked. Serve with steamed vegetables like bok choy or broccoli for a nutritious and balanced meal.

How much time does it take to steam a whole fish properly?

The cooking time for steaming a whole fish can vary depending on the size of the fish.

As a general rule of thumb, it takes about 10-12 minutes per pound of fish.

To check if the fish is cooked, insert a knife into the thickest part of the fish and twist gently. If the flesh flakes easily, the fish is cooked through.

Could you suggest a good type of fish for steaming?

There are many types of fish that are suitable for steaming.

Some popular options include sea bass, tilapia, trout, and snapper.

When choosing a fish, look for fresh fish with clear eyes and shiny skin. Avoid fish that has a strong fishy smell or is slimy to the touch.

Any ideas for a simple yet tasty Chinese steamed fish recipe?

A classic Chinese steamed fish recipe is to use a whole fish, such as sea bass or snapper.

Clean and scale the fish, then season it with salt and pepper.

Stuff the cavity of the fish with sliced ginger, garlic, and scallions.

Steam the fish for 10-12 minutes, or until it's cooked through.

Once cooked, pour a mixture of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil over the fish.

Garnish with more sliced scallions and serve with steamed rice.