steamed fish with ginger, chilli and shallots

During dinner at Kai Mayfair last Friday night, somewhere between indulging in the perfectly cooked Chilean Sea Bass and me licking my plate (for reals), the question of ‘how does one cook fish at home?’ was posed. I’m surprised at how often this question pops up in conversation, I know a million people who refuse to cook fish at home. But it’s a completely odd question to me, because I’ve always cooked fish (I’ve even dabbled with fish curry), and I don’t find it particularly difficult.

So this question was specifically about steaming fish, and ok, my steamed fish is a bit of a fraud, it’s actually kind of baked, but if it tastes the same and looks the same, who cares how it got there, right? It’s called innovation, people.

I think it’s because my mum use to cooked some form of fish every single night: steamed fish, fried fish, curry fish… she even gave in to my embarrassingly-Australian-but-looks-kinda-Malaysian childish requests for sweet ‘n sour fish and cooked that occasionally. 

Maybe it’s because I miss home and I miss my parents. Moving out of home a gargantuan twelve years ago (wow, do I suddenly feel like an old fart) doesn’t render me immune to the effects of wanting my momma’s hugs and wisdom. Ok, so I still get the wisdom, we talk on the phone at least once a week. What I really miss, besides the hugs, is my momma’s food. Whoever said there ain’t nothin’ like momma’s cooking is a smart cookie.

And maybe because my parents stuffed us with fish every night in order to raise marginally smart children (Omega 3, right? Brain food, right?), which by the way, I don’t know what happened but my brother got all the brains and I got, I got… the urge the blog (did I get the bum end of that deal?), I continued to cook fish at least once a week for the past decade, to fill the empty space that is momma’s cooking.

So now I’m all grown up and reasonably proficient at frying, grilling and steaming (baking, what-ever) fish to perfection (I’m modest too!), I thought I’d share how I steam fish. It’s not hard, I basically make a little aluminium foil parcel, fill it with fish and all things delicious (you really can add whatever you want), and pop it in the oven!

Steamed fish with ginger, chilli and shallots
2 pieces of white fish
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
1 small piece of ginger, thinly sliced
1Tablespoon soy sauce
1Tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
Olive oil
  1. Create a ‘boat’ with aluminium foil and place one piece of fish in the centre.
  2. Dribble with olive oil, soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce.
  3. Spread chilli, ginger and shallots across the fish.
  4. Wrap the aluminium foil around the fish, enclosing it completely.
  5. Preheat oven to 180°C/355°F.
  6. Bake fish for 18-20 minutes*.
  7. Serve with jasmine rice.

* Time in the oven depends on the oven type and thickness of the fish. I suggest you check at 18 minutes, and not overcook the fish because there is nothing more unappealling than steamed rubber.

Serves 2.

3 Thoughts on “i miss my momma: steamed fish with ginger, chilli and shallots

  1. I cook fish 2-3 times a week thansk to the same upbringing but very rarely blog about them – unless you count my salmon curry and fried salmon posts – because I thought you cook quickly, dish up and eat. Your steamed fish looks sensational – just liek the way I liek to eat them and makes me homesick too 🙁

  2. it reminds me of the ‘fish in aluminium bag’ method. I still steam my fish the old fashion wok way but this seems like a nice way too! And yes, I do miss home and mommy’s soups! thanks for sharing!

  3. valisa: salmon curry and fried salmon definitely count as cooking fish! the curry sounds delicious actually 🙂

    penny: I know, I don’t even own a wok, such a fraud of an Asian person I am!

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