Steaming is widely known as one of the healthiest cooking methods. You’re essentially cooking food in a sealed environment which helps to lock in nutrients and flavour more effectively, thus reducing the need to add oil. (With that said, you can always add various condiments and spices when steaming for a more flavoursome dish!)
Foods that are great for steaming include vegetables (like kailan, green beans, asparagus), fish and chicken. Whether you use conventional basket steamers or electric ones, steaming food is fast, easy and convenient as you don’t need to sweat it out over the stove. You can also speed up the process even further by using a pressure cooker.
Check out these 15 scrumptious steamed recipes to try out at home:
Pair the simplicity and natural sweetness of steamed prawns with a dipping sauce that is at once easy yet intense. Try it, and you might find yourself using the same recipe for your future seafood spreads alongside our other favourite condiments below.
For a light dinner, serve up this simple yet flavourful steamed snapper with a hot bowl of steamed rice. Make sure to use a good quality fish sauce — the colour of the sauce should look like tea, light and clear.
For something with a bit more spice, try this Thai-style sea bass that’s blanketed with a lime, garlic and chilli dressing.
Try more Thai-inspired recipes here!
Get creative by wrapping chicken breast in steamed lettuce leaves, and then placing it atop a spoonful of fragrant ginger scallion sauce. Lotus root chips add a unique finishing touch! This heart-healthy dish was created by MasterChef Asia finalist Chef Lennard Yeong.
Here’s another delicious way with steamed chicken — add wolfberries, white radish and red dates (a herb commonly used to boost the immune system). As an auspicious dish, it’s perfect for special occasions like Chinese New Year too.
Tender, steamed brussels sprouts, baby carrots and zucchinis with a golden, toasted spiced crumble scattered over it. A fast and healthy dish!
Impress the fam with this steamed fish dish that’s super tasty too. Add abalone if you’re feeling fancy (or if it’s a special occasion like CNY).
Watch the how-to video here:
Here’s another way to serve up steamed snapper, with a dressing made from salted black beans, chilli, ginger and garlic. Make sure to cook it together with the fish to allow the flavours to seep into the flesh.
Chawanmushi is a classic Japanese steamed egg custard served in a tea cup. Using this method of steaming, this recipe substitutes egg with kabocha and tofu to achieve a soft, smooth texture with rich umami.
This classic Teochew recipe features steamed mullet that’s served chilled and with the scales still on. Serve with two types of dips: tau cheo as well as green lime, chilli and garlic. Have some fresh salad on the side to make this a well-balanced meal.
Making these steamed xiao long baos at home is totally worth the effort when you follow our quick and easy recipe. Perfect for a teatime snack, light dinner or home party!
Did you know? Dumplings symbolise new beginnings for the new year, so having them with your loved ones is believed to bring in good fortune and happiness for everyone.
Who can resist these fluffy, piping hot buns filled with fragrant and tender minced pork?
These tasty stuffed pockets are a breakfast or teatime favourite. Filled with refreshing turnip, carrots and bamboo shoots, carrots, each mouthful is a burst of flavours. Enjoy these traditional steamed kuehs with crunchy shallots and sweet sauce.
Another hawker breakfast staple: Chwee kueh. Make chwee kueh at home and add a touch of luxury to this local favourite with dried prawn and tee poh (dried flat fish). Omit these for a vegetarian version.
A whole steamed fish is best had at family meals because it represents togetherness. Make this steamed snapper a part of your nutritious festive meal.
If dim sum breakfasts are your thing, you’ll be glad to know that it doesn’t require that much effort to make it at home. Sure, you could buy a frozen packet of siew mais from the supermarket to satisfy your craving, but making it from scratch is far more rewarding.
This article was first published in February 2021, and updated on April 11, 2023.