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Ginger pepper fish with coconut-leek rice is a super flavorful, healthy meal

Rowena Dumlao-Giardina resides in Italy, cooking and photographing her family's interesting meals on Apron and Sneakers. After moving to Italy in 1999 from the Philippines, she has traveled extensively around the country and the rest of ...

Fool the family into eating healthy with this steamed Asian ginger-stuffed fish dish

Steamed fish and rice may sound boring for others, but inspire the people at your table by adding an interesting combination of flavors and twist of colors to make a beautiful dinner platter.

Serving steamed fish and rice to a family with kids can seem like an impossibility. It's just too boring and healthy, isn't it? But it can be successful at times, believe it or not, especially when I have some soy sauce for them to flavor their fish.

Perhaps the healthiest way to cook fish is by steaming, and to help flavor it, I stuffed some crushed ginger inside the cavities and into the boiling water. That way, the fish can absorb the aroma and flavor of the ginger. In Asian cuisine, rice or noodles are a staple of all the meals. Pairing the fish with the usual simple white rice can make the whole meal seem too bland, so I cooked it instead with coconut milk to give it more body and the fresh leeks added at the end of cooking perfects the taste.

Fool the family into eating healthy with this steamed Asian ginger-stuffed fish dish

1. Coconut and leek rice recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw rice (jasmine, basmati, arborio, roma, etc.)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Directions:

  1. In a thick cooking pot over high heat, mix together the rice, water and coconut milk.
  2. When it starts to boil, immediately lower the heat to the lowest temperature, and then partially cover the pot, leaving about a 1/2-inch opening.
  3. Let the rice cook until it completely absorbs all the liquid, about 15 minutes.
  4. When the rice is tender and cooked, mix in the leeks. Cover to keep warm.

2. Steamed ginger and pepper fish recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 pounds fresh (not frozen) whole fish (use sea bream, sea bass, grouper, halibut, cod or other similar kinds of fish), cleaned and gutted
  • 1/3 cup ginger, peeled, chopped and crushed (leave a piece to be grated for garnish)
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Rinse the fish then pat it dry with kitchen paper towels.
  2. Rub the fish with some salt and pepper then fill up the cavities with the ginger, setting aside 2 pieces to drop inside the boiling water for steaming.
  3. Over medium heat, bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop the remaining pieces of ginger in the water. Place the fish in the steamer basket with the boiling water underneath.
  4. Cover and steam for about 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. To check, pierce the thickest part of the fish with the tip of a knife.
  5. While waiting for it to cook, in a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, lemon, honey and sesame seeds then set aside.
  6. When the fish is cooked, garnish it with the remaining grated ginger and drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil.
  7. Serve the fish with the warm rice and the sauce that you can pour over the fish when ready to be eaten. You can also add some slices of tomatoes dressed with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

More fish recipes

Asian meal: Fried whole fish, adobo water spinach and steamed rice recipes
Snapper with Asian vegetables in a bag recipe

Salt-crusted baked whole fish recipe

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