Steamed fish is deceptively quick and easy, though it continues to bamboozle many. This recipe provides a basic template, giving an idea of flavours and cooking times to get you started. If you don’t like Asian flavours, simply steam with a few slices of lemon and sprinkle of salt. Quantities can be easily adapted to feed one or many people, as long as you have a big enough steamer to cook the fish in a single layer. Bamboo steamers can be bought cheaply from Asian grocery stores and can be cooked one on top of each other to serve a bigger group.
Steamed fish with ginger and chili
4 fillets of white fish (e.g.: monk fish)
5cm piece of ginger root, shredded
2-4 kaffir lime leaves or a handful of coriander leaves, shredded
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red chili, finely chopped (optional)
A splash of fish sauce (optional)
2-3 spring onions, finely sliced on the diagonal
Lemon or lime juice
Line the steamer basket with baking paper (or banana leaves if you are going all out for presentation) so the fish won’t stick.
Mix the herbs in a bowl and add a splash of fish sauce.
If the fillets are of different thickness, make diagonal slashes with a sharp knife two thirds of the way though the thickest parts. Arrange the fish to lie flat in the steamer basket, and then cover with the herb/fish sauce mix. This can be spread quite thinly as the herbs can be over powering for some with a more delicate palate.
Put enough water in a large pan or wok so it won’t boil dry, nor be too high to touch the bottom of the steamer. Place on the heat, then position the basket and cover.
Steam about 8 minutes, then add the spring onions and citrus juice. It will need a further 30 seconds to 2 minutes, until the fish just begins to flake.
Serve immediately with a wedge of lemon or lime.
Accompany with salad or steamed vegetables and rice.
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