steamed fishTo steam fish is one of the easiest and most foolproof ways of cooking fish. It is a very good way to prepare fish calling for cooked fish in a recipe. When you steam fish, the fish never touches the water as it does when you poach fish, but it is suspended above the water on a rack or a plate.

Steaming pans are available. Racks that can be used for steaming are often sold with woks. Steamer attachments are also available with some double boilers however if you have none of these you can improvise. In a large deep pan you can place an inverted bowl and place a rack or plate on top of that. You need a pan with a cover large enough to fit over the bowl and the rack comfortably so the steam can surround it.

One pound of raw fish will yield about 2 cups of cooked flaked fish.
Steaming is a very good method for retaining the flavor of the fish although you will have more shrinkage than with poaching. The cooking time can be measured fairly accurately  because of the almost constant temperature of the steam. In other methods of cooking the fish should be checked often but in steaming checking the fish actually disrupts the cooking process.

Things you will need to steam fish

Whole fish, steaks or fillets
A large steaming pan (check above)

How to steam fish

Place 1-2 inches of water in the steaming pan. You can season the with herbs and spices if desired.
Place the steaming rack in the water so the fish will be at least 1 inch above the water.
Wipe the fish with a damp cloth and cut it into serving pieces.
Bring the liquid to a boil and place the fish on the rack or plate.
Cover the pan and start timing. Keep the heat high so there will be plenty of steam. Do not uncover the pan to check the fish until the time is up because this allows the steam to escape and can affect the timing.

How Long To Steam Fish

Measure at the thickest part of the fish
½ inch –          5 minutes
1 inch –         10 minutes
1 ½ inches – 12 minutes
2 inches –      16 minute