If you’ve ever wondered how to get that Chinese restaurant steamed fish flavour, wonder no longer. It’s all in that final flourish of pouring piping hot peanut oil over the aromatics, so they become beautifully scalded and fragrant.
4 (about 200g each) fillets of snapper OR salmon, skin on
2 Tbs Shaoxin (Chinese) rice wine
2 Tbs light soy sauce
1 Tbs finely chopped ginger
1 tsp sesame oil
Good pinch of white pepper
3 Tbs peanut oil
2 Tbs finely shredded ginger
2-3 spring onion, sliced finely
Handful of coriander
2-3 bunch broccolini
1 Tbs oyster sauce
2 Tbs olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
Steamed jasmine rice to serve
Tip: To make the spring onions curl up, slice on a steep diagonal very thinly and soak in iced water for 1 hour
Place the fish fillets in large bowl. Mix the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the fish. Make sure all fillets have been well covered in the marinade, then cover and chill for 10 minutes.
Place the fish in a single layer, in a heat proof vessel with high-ish sides. Place this on a steaming trivet in a large pot with the water filled to the top of the trivet and steam for about 10 minutes. To test if the fish is cooked through, insert the tip of a small knife in the thickest part of the flesh.
To finish, heat the peanut oil in a small pot. Scatter the shredded ginger, spring onions and coriander over the fillets, then when the oil is smoking, pour over the fish. Be careful as this will spit quite aggressively. This will scald and aromatics and release a beautiful fragrance.
To prepare the broccolini, place broccolini in a medium steaming pot over simmering water. Steam for about 3 minutes or until stems have been affected by the heat but still crunchy, then transfer to a serving plate.
To make the sauce, combine the oil and garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat and wait until the garlic is sizzling. When it starts to turn golden, immediately remove from the heat. Whisk in the oyster sauce and pour over the steamed broccolini. Serve with the fish and steamed rice.
POH’S TIPS TO FINDING THE RIGHT STEAMER FOR YOU
From veggies to fish and even dessert, steaming has long been one of the healthiest ways to cook. And there are so many ways to do it. So, I’ve curated a little go-to guide to help you master this humble little technique — no matter the method.
Unlike boiling, frying or baking, steaming uses piping hot vapour to gently cook your food. This method is perfect for delicate ingredients like seafood or dumplings as the steam is able to heat the food, infusing it with moisture, without compromising on texture, colour or nutrients. And because you don’t need to use any butter, oils or fats, steaming is proven to be a healthier way to cook (melting the fat away, instead of absorbing it).
“I love steaming because it’s quick, easy and versatile. You can achieve so much using the one tool; fragrant rice, juicy dumplings or a complex sponge cake. But, when should you opt for an electrical steamer over a stovetop option?”
Electric steamers are great multi-taskers. With stackable trays, they allow you to prepare large portions and multiple elements simultaneously; without any flavour mingling. And because they’re plug-and-play, they’re easy to tidy up and won’t clutter your stovetop.
Bamboo steaming baskets have been around for thousands of years and it’s easy to understand why. Bamboo absorbs some of the moisture produced while steaming, this ensures less condensation flows into the dish. The baskets cam be stacked for volume and you can line them with cabbage leaves, corn husks or banana leaves for added flavour. Start with a wok or pot large enough for the steamer to sit-on or nestle against, not so large that the basket sits on the bottom of the pot. Fill the pot with water, a couple of centimeters from the bottom of the basket and bring to a rolling boil. Fill your steamer with your ingredients and set it on top of the pot or wok. Easy-as!
STEAMING WITH STAINLESS STEEL
Stainless steel steamer come in plenty of sizes and offer you a more heavy duty cooking solution. Choose from steamer sets or a single inset to fit your existing saucepans. A lot like the bamboo basket, stainless steel inserts use ‘compartment steaming’ to cook your food. Simply fill your chose saucepan with a small amount of water, making sure that no water touches the bottom of the basket once it’s placed over the top.
CERAMIC COATED COOKWARE
While ceramic-coated cookware mightn’t immediately strike you as a steaming solution, it’s actually an excellent option to consider. The material is non-reactive which means acidic foods can be prepared without the risk of damage to your cookware. Heat transfer is quick, even and efficient, meaning you’ll need less power to prepare tour food. Like stainless steel and bamboo, ceramic-coated cookware uses the ‘compartment method’ to steam your food to perfection.
Isn’t it time you tried something a little steamy?
Discover the range of steamers available in-store and online now and give my Classic Cantonese Steamed Snapper recipe a go!