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Steaming is a gentle fat-free method of cooking seafood favored throughout Asia. Suspended over boiling water in a closed container, fish is surrounded by moist steam heat and retains all its moisture and natural flavors. Asian cooks prefer steaming fish whole with the head and tail intact. Fish fillets and steaks work beautifully too and are delicious and easy to serve. The Chinese always add ginger and scallions to steamed fish. Korean cooks add robust seasonings such as garlic, ginger, hot chilies, sesame oil and soy sauce.
Filipinos season their fish with fish sauce, ginger, tomato, garlic, onion and perhaps a choice of citrus juice, tamarind or vinegar to give it the characteristic sour tang that they love. Vietnamese lend a light, delicate flavor with lemongrass, shallots, mint, coriander and green onions. use any of these embellishments to season fish for steaming. Select firm-textured fish such as sea bass, cod, trout, halibut, salmon, rock cod, red snapper or crabs and shrimp.
* When steaming whole fish, allow 10 minutes cooking time for each inch of thickness, measured at the thickest part.
* Steaks and fillets take 5 to 10 minutes to cook if they are 1 inch or less thick. Allow 15 to 20 minutes if 2 inches thick.
* Line the steamer rack with banana leaves, ti leaves or aluminum foil before adding foods such as unshelled shrimp, seafood dumplings or stuffed buns.
* If your steamer lid is metal, enclose the fish on its platter with a loose wrap of waxed paper to prevent condensation from falling on the fish. or wrap the lid, Chinese-style, with a clean kitchen towel to catch condensation. Bamboo steamer lids simply absorb the moisture and are outstanding for steaming.
* Herbs and whole spices can be dropped into the steaming water for additional flavor.
Simply Seafood Fall 1993
Submitted By DIANE LAZARUS On 01-13-95