How to Steam Fresh Fish in a Rice Cooker
Chinese Steamed Fish Recipe
The picture you see here is the fruit of our collective labor from fishing in Panguitch Lake, Utah. Being Chinese, my mind is always cranking in high gear about how to best cook the fresh catch. There is no better way to prepare the fish than to steam it a la Chinese style.
A few obvious benefits to steam a fish:
1) It's a perfect method to preserve the freshness and the original flavor.
2) It's the Zen-style of cooking, i.e., less is more.
3) It's light and savory.
4) It's healthy and easily digestible.
Let's get on with how to prepare the fish.
Prepare the Fish
1) Choose a couple of fish that are about a pound each in weight to ensure it fits into the steaming basket of a rice cooker and can be cooked up around the same time.
2) Wash the fish really well to make sure everything is cleaned out and pat it dry with some paper towel.
3) If the steaming basket is too small for two pieces of fish, then cut the fish into smaller sizes or cook one instead of two. If cooked whole, cut a few slits on both sides of the fish to let the marinade in.
4) Rub some sea salt inside and outside of the fish (be gentle with the salt)
5) Drizzle Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry to marinade the fish. Make sure to pour some inside of the fish as well.
6) Cut up two green onions, two garlic cloves and a small knob of fresh ginger
7) Stuff the garlic, onion and ginger into the fish belly
8) Store the fish with all the marinade in a closed container in the fridge for a couple of hours, preferably overnight.
Kill 2 Birds with 1 Stone: Steam the Fish While Cooking the Rice
1) Measure two cups of dry sushi or a medium-grain white rice, add water to the marked water line in the inner pot. By the way, two cups of uncooked rice will be enough to feed 3 people. Add more rice according to the number of people.
2) Select "Sushi" rice setting on the control panel. Plug the power cord. Let it cook for about 40 minutes or so if you are using one of the Zojirushi brand rice cookers.
3) Put the fish in a steamer basket of a rice cooker
4) Open the lid of the rice cooker, place the steaming basket on top of the cooking pot and cover it. Let it cook for an additional 15 to 20 minute or so.
5) When you hear the "beep" or music from the rice cooker, open the lid to check if the fish is thoroughly cooked by gently sticking a folk into the thickest part of the fish.
Get the Sauce and Vegetables Ready
1) After the fish is placed in the rice cooker, wash up some green onion, fresh ginger and cilantro
2) Cut the green onion into an inch and a half in length. Then julienne the green onion sidewise into thin strips, do the same with the ginger and cut the cilantro into an inch and half length
3) As soon as the fish is cooked, place the fish onto an elongated serving platter. Garnish the fish with the julienned green onion, ginger and cilantro. Remember presentation is everything.
4) Heat a small saucepan with about two tablespoons of vegetable oil (no olive oil) on high heat
5) Pour the heated oil onto the fish (watch out for the splash) and add seasoned soy sauce for seafood to taste. Remind you of the salt in the marinade. By the way, if you can't find this type of soy sauce in your local Oriental market, Amazon carries a brand called Lee Kum Kee Seasoned Soy Sauce for Seafood for about $6.00. For your convenience, I've attached an Amazon link below.
6) Enjoy the fresh fish with a bowl of freshly cooked sushi rice. Be careful with the fish bones!
My stomach is growling as I am writing this. Can you hear it?
1) Fresh fish (1 to 2) either whole or cut up (talipia, sea bass, trout in this case or any other white fish)
2) Green onion, ginger root, garlic, cilantro
3) Chinese cooking wine, cooking oil, salt, seasoned soy sauce for seafood
4) Sushi rice
Cooking and Serving:
1) Serving platter
2) Rice bowls and chopsticks/or folks
3) Rice cooker with a steaming basket
Seasoned Soy Sauce on Amazon
About Panguitch Lake
If you've never heard of Panguitch or Panguitch Lake, you are not alone. Panguitch Lake is located in south central Utah about four hours drive from Las Vegas. The word "Panguitch" means "Big Fish" in American Indian. With an elevation of 8,400 feet, Panguitch Lake is close to quite a few world-class attractions such as Cedar Breaks National Monument and Bryce Canon National Park.
My family and I go to Panguitch Lake every summer to spend some time with our extended family and a much deserved R & R. Fishing is often part of the curriculum. There are a variety of trouts in the Lake such as rainbow trout and cut-throat trout.