Steamed pompano is my all-time favorite fish dish. I’ve raved about my love of pompano on the blog before, but there’s nothing like steamed pompano. I mean, you haven’t lived until you’ve had pompano steamed. Luckily for y’all, I’m sharing my family’s recipe today.
No surprise that my mom taught me this recipe. I pretty much begged her to give it to me after moving back home. I would request it for dinner so often that I honestly think she’s relieved that I can make it myself. Now I’m the one making it every so often for dinner! (Probably more than either her or my father actually want it! hehe).
Pompano is a fleshy white fish, similar to tilapia. When I was younger tilapia was our go-to fish. That is until we discovered pompano! Once you’ve had the thick, fleshiness in pompano you can’t go back. Now, steamed pompano in particular is great because all of that flesh soaks up the moisture in the steamer. So when you eat it, it tastes extra juicy and flavorful. If you’re a pescatarian this is about as close as you can get to juicy, fatty meat.Steaming also gives the pompano a nice, light texture. It feels airy to the bite and juicy in taste.
Steaming itself is extremely easy–as long as you have a steamer. Our steamer is set up like a double boiler–in tiers. The bottom tier is where you put the water to let it boil. Then, the steam rises up into the remaining two tiers where the fish actually cooks. It’s all topped off with a top so that it traps the steam into the two fish tiers. Also, to keep the recipe’s sauce in tact–aka, not falling through the holes in the steamer–I put the fish on steam-friendly plates. So, to review, it goes water tier, steamer tier with a plate, fish and sauce. Then top tier with, again, a fish, plate and sauce and the steamer top. I think I made that explanation more difficult than it actually is, so don’t be scared off.
The other great part of this steamed pompano recipe is the sauce. I make it just like my mama taught me! The fish is coated in salt, pepper and garlic powder and stuffed with green onions inside. (Remember to get your fish cleaned out at the supermarket, or do it yourself at home!!) The sauce is a simple sauteed mixture of garlic, onions and ginger. It’s then simmered in a combination of oyster sauce and Chinese cooking wine. Just put it on the plate before placing the fish on top and then pour the rest of the sauce on top. Once it steams, this sauce spreads and thins out to more of a watery texture, like a soup, which gives the fish such great flavor!
I could eat steamed pompano every week for the rest of my life. I love it so much. So, I hope you enjoy this recipe. It’s one of my favorites!
What’s your favorite steamed dish? How do you make steamed fish?
- 1-2 large pompano cleaned and gutted
- salt + pepper + garlic powder to taste
- 1 bunch green onions chop ends, halved
- 1 medium onion chopped in strips
- 1/2 tbsp ginger peeled and minced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup oyster sauce
- 1/4 cup Chinese cooking wine
Generously season both sides and the inside of the pompano with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Stuff the inside with the halved green onions. Set aside.
Saute the garlic, onion and ginger in olive oil until lightly brown and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add the oyster sauce and Chinese cooking wine. Mix and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for a few minutes and turn off heat. Set aside.
Bring water in steamer to a boil. On a plate, add 1/4 of the sauce. Place the fish on top. Add another 1/4 of sauce on top of fish. Place plate inside first tier of steamer. Repeat steps for second fish.
Stack the tiers and cover with the top of the steamer. Place on top of the boiling water. Let it steam for 25-30 minutes on medium high heat, or until the fish is tender and flaky.
Transfer the fish and sauce on a serving dish. Serve with rice!