Steamed fish with lime
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How to Make Steamed Fish with Lime (Ikan Stim Limau)

Hey hey hello 🙂

How’s the weather treating you all? While I know some countries are enjoying the bliss of spring right about now, we have no such luck here in Malaysia. These days, the sweltering heat has been almost unbearable that I pretty much feel like a wilted plant most of the time. Now where is that winter vacation when you need one! *silent cry*

Anyways, enough with the weather rant. Today I want to share with you a simple recipe that I have tried a few times with favorable results. It is a common dish that we usually order during our family dinner, but it works perfectly as an everyday meal option too. I referred to the general skeleton of the recipe from this website, but as always, I worked with whatever is available in the kitchen and therefore rarely abide by the same recipe strictly. Call it my own twist to cooking! 😉

Steamed fish with lime
A well-balanced taste of sweet, sour, spicy and all the goodness


The fish:

The usual star for this dish is a sea bass (ikan siakap). A quick search on the net shows that the fish is also called a Barramundi or Asian sea bass. However, other types of fish can be used as well. For example, ikan kembung (as what I’ve used here) and ikan selar kuning. I am not familiar with their names in English. Please kindly pardon the limit of my knowledge on fish.

Whatever fish you end up using, make sure to have it properly cleaned, gutted and scaled. Next, remember to make some diagonal score cuts through the body of the fish because this will allow for faster cooking and ensure the fish gets more flavor incorporated down to the bone.

The sauce (modified based on what I actually used):

  • Garlic – 6 cloves, finely chopped
  • One cube of chicken stock diluted in 1/2 cup of warm water
  • Assortments of chili to your preference, chopped
  • *Lemongrass – 2 stalks, cut diagonally
  • *Ginger – about 2 inch, cut to thin strips
  • Fish sauce – 4 tbs
  • Lime – I used 8 limes (limau kasturi), juiced
  • Sugar – around 2tbs
  • Asam boi – 4 pieces (my secret ingredient)

Ingredients with * is to be stuffed inside the fish cavity

Cooking steps:

  1. Prepare the fish as described above
  2. Insert ingredients * into the fish cavity. Place fish into a suitable dishware
  3. For the sauce, combine garlic, chili, lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar. Mix well and adjust to taste. You’ll find that salt is not necessary as the fish sauce itself is adequate
  4. Next, add in the diluted chicken stock. You can adjust the volume of water according to how thick or runny you would prefer the sauce to be
  5. Simply pour the sauce onto the fish. Add in asam boi and set the fish to steam for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Steaming time is dependent on the size of the fish. Please adjust accordingly
  7. Once done, to serve and enjoy with a plate of warm white rice

As you go through the steps, you will notice that my method is slightly different from the website that I refer to. One crucial difference is the addition of asam boi (or preserved plum as Mr. Google calls it). I find that the addition of this ingredient brings out just the right amount of sweet and sour to this dish. Feel free to omit this if you don’t happen to have some in your kitchen, I am sure the taste would still be as good.

So, what do you think? It is such a simple dish to make, especially if you are short on time. Not to mention, it is also a great alternative for those who are dieting and would like to stay off fried food.

So come on and give it a try. Don’t be shy to give the dish a twist or two because cooking is also about learning and experimenting. Have fun and please share with us your own version of steamed fish in the comments!

You can check out other recipes too. Till next time~

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