Steamed Blue Cod

a fresh blue cod in a skillet
Steamed blue cod is exquisite — the texture fine and creamy, the flavour simple and beautiful.Same with many other fresh fish. I’ve steamed mullet, flounder, carp, bass and snapper and they all taste absolutely delicious. If I could only choose one way to cook fresh fish, I’d go for steaming every time.

There are three things that are crucial for the success of steamed fish. Freshness, size and cooking time.

Fresh blue cod, or any fresh fish for that matter, has bright and clear eyes, firm and resilient flesh and clean scales with a beautiful sheen. Poke the fish with your figure to see whether the flesh is firm and bounces back immediately. I was lucky to get mine today from our local fish shop. It came in only hours earlier and looked like the next best thing to fishing it out of the sea myself. Perfect for steaming!

The best size for steaming is small to medium sized fish, somewhere between 400 to 650 grams (before its gutted), or around 350 to 550 grams after it’s gutted. Even-cooking becomes difficult with a fish bigger than that, and you risk getting a fish that is over-cooked on the outside and still raw on the inside.

The third thing is the duration of steaming. Fresh fish cooks extremely fast and will loose its distinctive flavour and texture when over cooked. The ideal cooking time is between 6 to 8 minutes over boiling water. Make sure the water is boiling before putting the fish on the steamer. The high temperature at the beginning of cooking is crucial to seal the juice and help yield the soft texture. Remove the fish from heat as soon as it’s cooked through to prevent over-cooking.

Steamed fish is flavored just before serving, and the hot oil is added at the very last — something very unique about this way of cooking fish. The least amount of handling during cooking and the sparing use of spices simple bring out the best of fresh fish.
cutting the fish

sliced ginger and spring onion on a plate

Preparation: 5 minutes             Steaming: 8 minutes

  • 1 blue cod 500 grams (gutted and scaled)
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 small block of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced about 6 cm long
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp oil
Slice open both sides of the blue cod without cutting through. Rub the entire fish with wine and half of the ginger slices. Put the fish on a plate, then into a steamer over boiling water. Steam for 8 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove from heat immediately.
Pour soy sauce over the cooked fish. Arrange spring onion and ginger slices over the fish. Heat oil in a small pot and pour over the fish. Serve immediately.

Pouring oil over steamed blue cod

Pour the hot oil over the fish. Sizzling!

Fish bone on a plate

Yummy, all gone!

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