How To Steam A Fish – Without a steamer

How to team a fish IF you don’t have a steamer?

How To Steam a fish without a steamer? This is the question I asked myself when I was working as a private Thai Chef in Europe.

It was definitely a lot more challenging to create a wonderful Asian dish far away from home. Firstly, there is no stove that would support a wok, secondly, the ingredients are very different, doesn’t matter if it’s spices or fish or vegetable, you kinda have to learn and experiment everything from scratch. But the good thing is, this experience taught me to be a lot more creative with Asian cuisine and to be flexible with my cooking style.

What is the differences between steamed fish and baked fish in my opinion.

Steamed fish

Steamed fish method: place a fish to steam in a double boiler-style pot (we call that a steamer). The top layer of the pot has tiny wholes at the bottom to allow the steam to come up. To steam a fish, simply put the fish on a plate. The plate should be small enough to fit inside the top layer of the pot and have enough space around the side for ventilation. This is important because it will allows the steam to come up and do the job.

The end result: Soft and tender fish; Almost falling apart. The fish is moist and tender, and there are plenty of juice left on the plate which is apart of the dish itself.

Baked fish

You are probably familiar with this method, and have more experience with it. Anyways, I’m just going to go through the method quickly just for the record. To bake a fish, simply put the fish on a baking paper; there are many different styles of baking, such as, you can wrap the whole fish with the baking paper, leave the top open or salt baked the fish.

The end result: It depends on the method you are using, but the differences that I can point out from steamed fish are:

1) Baked fish has least moist in the meat

2) It’s easy to over cooked the fish which gives the result of dry and tougher meat.

How To Steam a fish without a steamer?

Now you probably have some ideas on how to steam a fish IF you don’t have a steamer.

The method

This is how I do it after a several experiment and I have found that this method gives the closest end result that I’m looking for, and it’s quick and easy way to cook fishes in batch.

Oven Steamed Fish

Pana Napa
Quick, healthy and easy oven steamed fish
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Servings 4 People


  • 4 Medium white fish of your choice – in the picture is Durada Scaled and gutted.
  • 4 Stalks Lemongrass – lightly mashed with pestle or other tools that you have available. The essential oil will come out better when you mash the lemongrass, than chop them.
  • 12 Slices Galagal, 1cm thick
  • 12 Slices Lemon
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 Tomatoes sliced (Optional) I like to add tomato because I work in the mediterranean and the tomato there is just so good and juicy. It gives such a nice flavour to the fish and also helps to keep the fish moist.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste This part is flexible depend on the sauce that you served the fish with. If you served the fish with just a lemon wedge, you can put a little bit more to taste.


  • Turn the oven on at 180 °c.
  • Prepare baking tray(s) for 4 fishes. I personally like to use a metal tray, because it heats up a lot faster than the ceramic one.
  • Prepare x4 baking paper that is large enough to cover the whole fish
  • Stuff each fish with 1 lemongrass stalk, 3 slices galangal, 1 slices (or more as you wish) of lemon. Afterward, place the fish on the tray where baking paper is prepared. Sprinkle each fish with salt and pepper, and top the fish with the rest of the lemon slices. Cut the tomato if you decided to use it, and place them around the fish.
  • Sprinkle olive oil on top of each fish, and sprinkle some water with your hand, about 2 times. Close the baking paper and make sure that it's well covered the fish. Wrap the fish again with foil to keep most of the moister inside.
  • Once the oven is heat up to 180 °c Put the fish inside and bake for around 15-20 mins, depend on the side of your fish. After 15 mins give it a check by using a bamboo stick piece through, if it goes through easily then that means the fish is cooked. You can use other method that you are familiar with, this method I was taught by my grandma so I keep using it.
Keyword fish, healthy, Main course, pescatarian, Quick and easy, side dish, steamed fish

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