Steamed Fish – In the Microwave

This is a dish my mom made frequently when I was growing up. If you have good fresh fish, this is a great way to really savour the natural flavour of the fish, keeping it juicy and succulent.

And the easiest way to make steamed fish – is in the microwave! A good old trusty steamer of course would do the job too!

What you’ll need:

  • 300-500g of fish fillets or thin small whole fish (larger amount is better done in a steamer)
  • 1cm piece of ginger chopped into very fine match sticks
  • 1-2 finely sliced or chopped spring onion
  • 1 tablespoon of really good quality soy sauce* (more or less depending on your taste)
  • 1 tablespoon of rice liquor (or other clear spirit if you must)
  • 1 teaspoon of light sesame oil* + 1 teaspoon extra
  • optional pinch of white pepper

Follow these steps:

  1. Put the fish into a deepish plate at least 2cm deep.
  2. Sprinkle over ginger and spring onions, reserving 1 tablespoon-worth of spring onions.
  3. Drizzle over everything else except the extra teaspoon of sesame oil.
  4. Cover with another plate or glad wrap.
  5. Cook in the microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Alternatively put into a steamer with strong steam for 6-8 minutes.
  6. Check if the middle is cooked through by gently picking with a toothpick and see if it starts to flake – don’t destroy the fish though.
  7. If not cooked through yet, put it into the microwave again for 30 secs at a time (or 1 minute at a time in a steamer).
  8. When cooked, drizzle with the extra teaspoon of light sesame oil and sprinkle the rest of the spring onion over. Quickly, tilt the dish slightly and spoon the juice at the bottom over the entire dish while steaming hot. This brings out the aroma of the freshly sprinkled spring onions and sesame oil. Serve with rice while steaming hot!

If you don’t tell, I bet no one would know it’s microwaved! Enjoy! And don’t forget to spoon some of that juice onto your rice! Oh, then try to remember you should chew your rice!

* A note on soy sauce: Soy sauce varies in saltiness. In general the Taiwanese ones are a lot less salty than ones from China, and has a stronger aroma. It is the aroma we are after for this dish! It is really worth investing in a good bottle, sort of the same principal for using truffle or truffle oil. And a good bottle of soy sauce is not even that expensive after all!

** About sesame oil: There are light ones and dark ones. If you can only find one type of sesame oil in your store, just grab it and use more or less depending on your taste. Again, I beg you to get a good bottle – it should smell intensely like you are inhaling freshly toasted sesames.


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