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How to Steam Whole Fish in the Steam Oven

Updated: Jul 1, 2023

Steaming is an excellent method for cooking a whole fish and the consistent temperature maintained in a Steam oven makes it the best tool for achieving perfect results.


Steam ovens for the home kitchen came onto the market twenty-two years ago, allowing us to steam multiple foods in the oven at one time but also to bake and roast with steam, cook in the sous vide style, as well as defrost, proof, and reheat food.


However, the inspiration for steam cooking goes back 2,000 years when wok cooking originated in China. This ingenious invention allows you to cook foods in a variety of methods such as stir-fry, deep frying, braising, smoking, and with the addition of steamer baskets to steam multiple dishes at one time.


It took us a while to catch up, but a built-in or tabletop Steam oven allows us to cook more easily with Steam while enjoying the same benefits of better flavor, texture, and nutrient value.


Steaming Over Boiling Water vs Steaming in the Steam Oven


When steaming over a wok or any saucepan of boiling water some kind of insert that suspends the food over the boiling water is required and this can be a limitation when steaming larger items such as a whole fish.


The flavor is also something to take into account, fish can be steamed with different aromatics depending on the flavor profile you want so steaming in a solid pan with a little liquid and those aromatics is ideal.


The Steam oven offers an ideal environment for several reasons, the trays easily accommodate several small or one large fish, and, let’s face it dealing with cooking over boiling water can be challenging in terms of safety. Also, Steam ovens are equipped with a timer so you don’t have to keep monitoring the fish for doneness.


The timing seems to be the major difference when steaming in the Steam oven, whole fish can take up to 20 minutes to cook in the steam oven versus 10-12 minutes when cooked over simmering water. However, the gentle steam environment beautifully enhances the texture and flavor of the fish.


In this recipe, the fish was steamed with ginger, scallions, soy sauce, and lemon but for a final flourish, chef Paul heated some sesame oil until sizzling and poured it over the fish before serving.


Steamed fish is delicious but be sure to check out our next Blog post which will feature Pork Ribs steamed with a Black Bean sauce, it’s fabulous.


Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast


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