Discover the benefits of preparing food with steam
Fish is not only delicious, but healthy too, especially if steamed. A clean and quick way to prepare food, steaming can be a refreshing alternative to conventional cooking methods and is easy to master. Chef and ASKO ambassador, Adam Liaw, suggests cooking a simple dish such as his ‘steamed snapper with ginger and shallots’ recipe. This classic and fundamental Chinese dish is full of flavour and an ideal introduction to the steaming technique.
Benefits of steam cooking
Steaming is a gentle way to cook that preserves the texture, flavour and nutrition of many foods. It’s great for home cooking as it’s extremely quick, very simple to do, and produces food that retains its natural moisture – plus it’s tender and delicious. “It’s even simpler than one-pot cooking,” says Adam. “You could call it no-pot cooking because, in a steam oven, you don’t need a pot at all. You just steam the food on the plate you’re going to serve it on.”
Steaming is great for open plan kitchens too, because it reduces cooking smells, there is no smoke or splatter and cleaning up is very easy.
To cook a whole fish, which has already been scaled and cleaned, cut a couple of slits into the flesh and season both the inside and out with salt. Cut thin strips of ginger and spring onion, and put those over the fish and inside the cavity. Mix Shaoxing wine, soy sauce and a bit of sugar in a bowl and pour over the fish before cooking. For no-fuss cooking with steam, Adam prefers a steam oven, which can combine traditional convection with steam in a single cooking program or simply use just hot air, or steam. It also solves an age-old problem associated with food steamers – finding one big enough for large ingredients like whole fish.
With traditional steaming methods, it is difficult to steam a whole fish. “Every time I make this dish and I go to the fish mongers, I have to try and find a fish that’s going to fit inside my steamer, but if you’ve got a steam oven, that’s not a big problem,” says Adam. “A good rule of thumb is that any dish you can put into the microwave can be placed in a steam oven.”
“People are always amazed when they see how easy it is. A whole steamed fish – just as you’d buy it in a Chinese restaurant for more than a hundred dollars – but made at home in 15 minutes and you didn’t even have to use a single pot!” says Adam. “It’s hard to imagine a simpler, healthier or faster dinner.”
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