Recipe Review

This Recipe for Microwaved Steamed Fish Will Change the Way You Make Weeknight Dinner

published Mar 2, 2022
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grilled swordfish on a plate
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell
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With my hectic work schedule, I’m always on the lookout for quick and easy meals that save me time without sacrificing flavor. Since I’m a pescatarian, however, most of the fish-based meals I come across take more time to create than I’d personally like to devote. So, imagine my delight when I came across author Andrea Nguyen’s microwaved steamed fish with ginger sizzle recipe. 

While nothing beats a traditional Chinese-style steamer, microwaving is a great alternative when you’re in a crunch or if you’re just starting to learn how to steam food. From asparagus to sweet potatoes, I’ve become a master at cooking my favorite dishes in a fraction of the time via the microwave. Although my diet these days consists of eating seafood, the one thing I hadn’t learned to cook faster was fish.

This simple recipe is filled with flavor and is easy for even the most novice of cooks like me to prepare. In my opinion, the most crucial step is selecting your fish. For this particular recipe, Andrea opted for a fresh portion of bone-in flounder with the skin on.

Prep the fish for cooking by cutting two shallow slits on each side. The slits will ensure the fish cooks evenly and allow some seasoning to reach the fish’s inner flesh. Next, you’ll refresh the fish by rubbing sea salt all over it, rinsing it, and patting it dry. For your veggies, you’ll start by peeling the fresh ginger, slicing it, and then cutting the slices into fine, thin strips. Once complete, place the ginger in a small saucepan and move on to your onions and mushrooms.

Trim your green onions, then cut the white sections into 2-inch pieces and halve them lengthwise. Continue by cutting the remaining green parts into thin, 2- to 3-inch strips. Lastly, slice the mushrooms into thin pieces, being sure to include the stem pieces as well.

After choosing a shallow bowl or plate for the food to go on, place most of the white portion of your green onions at the bottom to prevent the fish from sticking while in the microwave. Next, place the fish on top of the onions, providing extra flavor by stuffing each slit with your green onion whites and scattering any leftover pieces on top of the fish. Rice wine and mushrooms are added next before adding water to help mimic the steam you get from traditional Chinese-style steamers and prevent having a dry fish.

Loosely cover the dish with plastic wrap and microwave on high for three to five minutes, pushing a tip of a knife into the flesh of the fish at the three-minute mark to check its doneness. If there is no resistance, the fish is cooked; if not, microwave for 30 to 60 seconds longer. Once completely cooked, add the remaining green parts of your green onion on top.

For your sauce, add the oil to the ginger in a saucepan and cook over medium heat. Once it begins to sizzle, lower the heat and fry it by lifting and shaking the pan frequently for roughly two minutes. As the ginger begins to brown, remove it from the heat and pour the hot ginger goodness onto the green onion (and your fish) to sear it. Finally, drizzle your favorite soy sauce on top and enjoy.