How to steam fish

Steaming is one of the healthiest ways to cook, because it's one of the only cooking methods that doesn't require added fat.

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Steaming is the ultimate way to cook fish, as it keeps it moist and it's exceptionally easy, so even novice chefs can feel confident in the kitchen doing it. Plus you can add in herbs and spices while it's steaming to really infuse some flavour.

Once you know how to steam, have a go at one of our tasty recipes, such as Steamed fish with orange and fennel salad or Steamed bream with lemon and capers.

First thing's first though; you need to select a steamer. There are many to choose from, and which one you go for just depends on your personal preference: 

  1. Steamer inserts for saucepans or rice cookers
  2. Three-piece stainless steel steamers
  3. Steaming trivets which can be used in woks to raise smaller pans or plates above water
  4. Bamboo steamers, which are cheap and suitable for all types of steamed food

Marinate or season the fish

Place the fish on a plate. Combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and drizzle over the fish. Refrigerate and allow the fish to marinate for at least 10 minutes.

Prepare the steamer

Half fill a saucepan with water and bring to the boil over a high heat. Cover the base of a bamboo steamer with 1–2 cabbage leaves. Place the fish on the cabbage leaves and drizzle with any remaining marinade.

Steam the fish

Place the steamer on top of the saucepan and ensure that the water is not touching the steamer – if it is, pour out some water. Adjust the heat so that the water is just boiling and place the lid on the steamer. Steam for 10–12 minutes according to the thickness of the fish – thick fillets may need more steaming time and thin fillets less time.

Check if it's done and serve

Carefully remove the lid from the steamer and gently prod the fish with a fork – when cooked, it will be opaque and starting to flake.

Use an egg flip to remove the fish from the steamer and transfer it to a serving plate. Sprinkle the fish with herbs or sliced spring onions and serve with your choice of vegetables.