Did you know that steaming is one of the healthiest ways of cooking? It requires no added fat and best of all, you don’t even need a steamer to steam your food! You can do it right in your oven – just as I do in this steamed pompano recipe!
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Here’s what you’ll need:
About this Chinese style steamed pompano
Pompano, also known as pomfret (or bawal in Malaysia) is a fish that’s great for steaming. Steamed pompano with ginger and soy sauce is my go-to for a quick and healthy lunch. Served with rice, this makes a hearty and satisfying meal.
For the longest time, I only used to eat steamed fish when my family ate out at Chinese restaurants. I didn’t have a steamer at home, so I always viewed steamed fish as restaurant food, not home food.
How wrong I was! Steamed fish can absolutely be home food. In fact, it’s the perfect meal to make at home if you want something quick and healthy to eat.
My initial hesitation to make steamed fish at home was mainly because I didn’t want to buy a steamer! I didn’t want yet another kitchen appliance to take up space on my countertop.
But with some online research, I realized I didn’t need a steamer. I could make steamed pompano with soy sauce using my oven!
All I had to do was wrap and seal the fish with parchment paper, and bake it in the oven. The heat of the oven would steam the fish within the parchment paper packet!
Since learning this trick, I make steamed fish at home at least once a week! It’s a hassle-free weekday dinner option that my husband and I really look forward to.
So if you’re like me and you’re wondering how do you steam fish without a steamer, here are my tips and tricks for making juicy, tender steamed fish in the oven!
Why you’ll love this recipe
These days, steamed fish is one of my favorite make-at-home recipes!
Here’s why you’ve got to try this steamed pompano fish recipe:
- It’s healthy. Steaming requires no added fat. With some soy sauce and a few aromatics, you can make a light yet tasty meal for yourself.
- It’s very easy to make. This whole pompano fish recipe requires very little prep time. Just toss a few ingredients together and let the oven work its magic!
- You don’t need any fancy equipment to make it at home. You don’t need a steamer to make this recipe at home, just use your oven! Wrap and seal the pompano fish in parchment paper before baking in the oven. The heat of the oven will steam the fish within the packet!
Why pompano is great for steaming
Pompano is great for steaming because its delicate and succulent flesh pairs well with soy sauce and ginger. Plus, it’s very easy to eat as it doesn’t have tiny bones to deal with.
Ingredients for simple steamed pompano recipe
This recipe requires only a handful of ingredients to make, namely:
I use golden pompano (also known as golden pomfret) for this recipe. The pompano I use is roughly around 1 lb (450g). This can easily feed 2 people.
For smaller fish, you’ll want to reduce the cook time accordingly.
These ingredients lend a wonderful flavor and aroma to this whole pompano recipe.
In addition to soy sauce, you’ll also need to add some water to your fish before you wrap and seal it in parchment paper. Remember, you’re steaming the fish within this parchment paper packet, so you’ll need to have some liquid inside.
How to prepare the fish
So, how do you prepare the pompano fish for steaming?
The first step is to clean the fish thoroughly. How to clean pompano fish, you ask? Well, this involves descaling, cutting off the fins, and removing the gut. If you’re doing this at home, having a fish scaler and a sturdy butcher’s knife really helps.
I’m pretty well known for being a clutz in my family, so I tend to stay clear of huge knives whenever possible! As such, I usually ask my local fish seller to help me clean the pompano for me. They’re really good at what they do, so I rather leave it to the pros!
Before cooking, wash the cleaned pompano fish under running water, and then pat dry with a paper towel. Using a sharp knife, cut diagonal slits on both sides of the pompano. This ensures that the fish cooks evenly in the oven.
And you’re done! You’ve prepped the pompano and it’s now ready for steaming.
How to make Chinese style steamed pompano recipe
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to make this recipe:
1. Preheat the oven to 375F/190C.
2. Wash the pompano.
Wash the fish under running water and then pat dry with paper towels. Using a sharp knife, make diagonal slits on both sides of the fish. Season both sides of the fish with black pepper, then set aside.
3. Prepare the pompano for steaming.
Place some ginger, chili, and spring onion on the baking tray. Place the fish on top.
Stuff the cavity of the fish with more ginger, chili, and spring onion.
Pour half the soy sauce over the fish. Flip the fish and pour the remaining half over the other side.
Pour 2 tbsp of water over the fish.
Scatter any remaining ginger, chili, and spring onion on top of the fish.
4. Wrap and seal the pompano.
Now, it’s time to wrap and seal the fish. Grab both ends of the baking paper lengthwise and bring them together over the top of the fish. Now, fold the top down tightly. Tuck the ends neatly under the fish, making sure that the packet is properly sealed.
5. Steam the fish in the oven.
Put the baking tray with the fish packet in the oven and cook for 25 minutes.
6. Finally, serve the steamed pompano in soy sauce.
Open the packet, garnish with fresh spring onions (optional), and serve along with rice.
Frequently Asked Questions
What fish is best for steaming?
For steaming, delicate white fish is always a good choice. You can opt for fish fillets or whole fish. Here are some great options for steaming:
- Golden pompano
- Sea bass
- Red snapper
Is it better to steam fish?
Yes, in addition to being healthy, steaming is also an easy way to cook fish. You can use a steamer basket for this, but if you don’t have one, you can even use an oven. Steaming produces a perfectly moist and succulent fish with zero added fat.
Is steamed pompano healthy?
Yes. Steaming is one of the healthiest methods of cooking, and pompano is packed with selenium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, thiamin (B1) and essential amino acids. Thus, steamed pompano is certainly a healthy dish to include in your diet.
How do you clean a pompano?
Cleaning and prepping a fish for cooking involves descaling, cutting off the fins, and removing the gut. To do this at home, you’ll need a fish scaler, a sturdy butcher’s knife, and a chopping block. Alternatively, you can ask your local fish seller to clean it for you.
How long should I steam my fish?
It can take 25 – 30 minutes to steam a whole fish, depending on its size. Fish fillets steam much faster, usually a little under 10 minutes.
How do you know when steamed fish is done?
To know whether your fish is done, test it with a fork. Pierce through the thickest point of the fish and twist gently. The fish is done if it flakes easily and is no longer translucent on the inside.
How do I steam fish without a steamer?
If you don’t have a steamer, you can also steam fish in your oven. Wrap and seal the fish in parchment paper, with soy sauce and water inside, and bake in the oven at 375F/190C. The heat of the oven will steam the fish within its packet.
How do you steam fish in the oven?
The key to this is securely wrapping and sealing the fish in parchment paper. You want the fish to steam within the packet in the oven, so you need to seal it well.
What is the best way to season fish?
There are various ways to season fish. For steaming, my go-to way of seasoning fish is with soy sauce, black pepper, ginger, and chilies. It’s simple yet really flavorful.
Other must-try recipes
Steamed Pompano Recipe (Without A Steamer!)
- 1 whole pompano fish
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1-inch ginger, julienned (cut into long, thin strips)
- ½ red chili, julienned
- 1 spring onion, julienned
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp water
- Preheat the oven to 375F/190C.
- Wash the fish under running water and then pat dry with paper towels.
- Season both sides of the fish with black pepper, then set aside.
- Line a baking tray with a long piece of parchment paper. The parchment paper should be big enough to wrap and seal the fish nicely.
- Place some ginger, chili, and spring onion on the baking tray. Place the fish on top.
- Stuff the cavity of the fish with more ginger, chili, and spring onion.
- Pour half the soy sauce over the fish. Flip the fish and pour the remaining half over the other side.
- Pour 2 tbsp of water over the fish.
- Scatter any remaining ginger, chili, and spring onion on top of the fish.
- Now, it’s time to wrap and seal the fish. Grab both ends of the baking paper on the lengthwise and bring them together over the top of the fish. Now, fold the top down tightly. Tuck the ends neatly under the fish, making sure that the packet is properly sealed.
- Put the baking tray with the fish packet in the oven and cook for 25 minutes.
- Open the packet and serve with rice.
If you’re looking for healthy meal options, make sure to give this steamed pompano recipe a try! You don’t need a steamer to make this restaurant-style dish. Some parchment paper and an oven will work just fine.
This pompano fish recipe is definitely a healthy meal option that you can customize to your liking. You can replace pompano with other fish such as sea bass or tilapia depending on what’s available and what’s on sale at your local supermarket.
You can even use this steaming technique for chicken or vegetables. The possibilities are endless. Easy to make, healthy, and most importantly, super yummy!