Steamed Ginger Pepper Fish with Coconut Leek Rice

When someone asked me if the basic diet of Asians is really fish and rice, I thought about what we really eat. It's true that rice is staple like bread is in Europe or potatoes in North America. Fish, well, I think that person was thinking more about Japanese cuisine popularized by sushi and sashimi. Whereas in the Philippines, it's inevitable not to have fish because it has more that 7,000 islands and most of the country is surrounded by water. It's a true seafood lover's paradise.

There is a good balance of meat and vegetable dishes too. And the fruit, well that's another story because I might not even be able to finish this post before I book a flight to the Philippines and stuff myself with those wonderful tropical fruits that I miss so much. I can cook Asian meals here in Italy but I cannot do magic with our quince or fig trees to bear Carabao mangoes or coconuts or all those incredible fruits I grew up with.

I had been a picky-eater when I was growing up but eventually, common sense came to me and I started to open my doors to most of the food that I refused to eat. What I love most is fish and rice. Maybe because my Mom made sure we ate more fish than meat at home. I remember that whenever she goes on a strict diet, she would have steamed fish and measured rice. The rest of the family have tastier dishes while I enjoyed jabbing on her plate then I dip the fish in my soy sauce - lemon concoction.

If the fish is fresh, the kind you get is a tasty one, and you stuff it with ginger or anything you want the fish to taste like, you can be assured that the steamed fish won't bore your taste buds at all. For the rice, I cooked it with coconut milk to create a good harmony with the steamed fish. Don't forget the sauce because that is the magic trick to seal the wonderful Asian flavors.

If you want to try this Steamed Ginger Pepper Fish with Coconut Leek Rice recipe, you can get it at She Knows or just scroll down. Check out my Profile Page there too to see the other recipes that I created for them. Have a good week!  

Coconut and Leek Rice

Serves 2

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

Steamed Ginger and Pepper Fish

Serves 2

  • 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
  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.

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