15 Steamed Low Carb Recipes

1. Steamed Fish in Banana Leaf


4 6 oz grouper fillets (4 x 170 grams)

Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Banana leaves, 4 pieces cut into 10x10-inch squares

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp toasted cumin seeds, ground (5 ml)

4 kaffir lime leaf or grated zest of 2 limes

Butchers twine, 4 pieces cut into 12-inch pieces

2 limes, sliced, grilled, to garnish


1. Prepare a bamboo steamer or a double boiler with a perforated insert. Fill bottom with water and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer. Cover until ready to use.

2. Meanwhile, to prepare fish: Season fish with salt and freshly cracked pepper on both sides. Lay banana leaves out. Place a fillet in the middle of each. Sprinkle with the garlic, and cumin seeds. Top with a lime leaf or grated zest. Wrap banana leaf around fish like a parcel and tie with butcher's twine.

3. Steam fish until centre of fish is warm when a knife is inserted in the middle of fillet, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from steamer immediately and serve with Spicy Oil Drizzle.

Spicy Oil Drizzle

4. Place extra virgin olive oil, garlic, coriander, japalpeno and lime juice in a small saucepan. Warm gently on low heat until fish is ready. Do not heat rapidly! Drizzle over fish.

2. Chinese Ginger Soy Sea Bass


2 whole sea bass (1 lb to 1 ½ lbs each), cleaned

4 green onions, julienned

⅓ cup ginger, peeled julienned

10 slices ginger, peeled

¼ cup vegetable oil

½ cup soy sauce

3 tsp sugar



1. Place a metal trivet into a large wok or pot (or use a small heatproof plate placed upside down). Pour water in; just enough to almost reach the top of the trivet. Bring the water to a boil.

2. In the meantime take a heatproof dish, one that is big enough to hold the fish as well as fit inside the wok/pot with the water, and line the bottom with some of the green onions so that the fish won’t stick when cooking.

3. Rinse the fish in cold water and pat completely dry with paper towels. Rub the entire fish with a light coat of cornstarch. Place three slices of ginger inside each fish and two on top of the fish. Place the fish on the dish.

Spicy Oil Drizzle

4. When the water in the wok/pot is boiling, place the dish on top of the trivet. Cover with a lid and steam for 15 to 18 minutes until the flesh is opaque.

5. While the fish is cooking, heat the oil in a saucepan. You can test when it’s hot by placing a chopstick into the oil. When bubbles form around the chopstick, it’s ready. Toss in the julienne ginger and cook for 30 seconds. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and soy sauce. Add that mixture to the hot oil and stir until the sugar has melted and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.

6. When the fish has cooked, discard the slices of ginger from the fish and drain any excess liquid. Pour the cooked soy sauce over the fish and serve immediately.

3. Green Leafs


Radishes and peas

2 Tbsp butter

2 bunch radishes, about 1-1/4 pounds/460 g, quartered or sliced

1 pinch Salt and pepper

2 green onions, thinly sliced

handful of chopped fresh dill

Fish and Sauce

8 large Boston lettuce leaves

Salt and pepper

4 fillets halibut, about 4 ounces/110 g each

3 stalks dill, chopped

1 shallot

½ clove garlic

½ cup white wine

1 ¼ cup chicken stock

1 ¼ cup cream

2 Tbsp butter

Salt and pepper

Lemon juice, to taste

pinch dill sprigs for garnish


1. Melt the butter in a sauté pan and gently cook the radishes until half cooked. Add the peas with 1/4 cup/60 ml water. Continue cooking until the peas and radishes are tender Season, and scatter over the green onions and dill.

Fish and Sauce

1. For the fish bundles: Lay the lettuce leaves in a sauté pan of boiling salted water for a few seconds. Remove, and immediately plunge in an ice bath. Lay flat on tea towels to drain, gently patting them dry. Remove the ribs, so you have strips of lettuce. Lay a few leaves on a board, slightly overlapping. Lay a fish fillet on top. Season, and neatly fold the lettuce leaves over to make a neat package, with the end of the fish visible out the ends. Make the other three bundles. If you’re not cooking until much later, wrap and refrigerate. Otherwise, just set them aside.

2. For the sauce: Put the dill stalks, shallot, garlic, wine, and stock in a saucepan. Boil to reduce by three-quarters. Strain, and return to a clean saucepan. Add the cream and simmer to sauce consistency, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the butter a piece at a time. Taste, and season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, if needed.

3. Lay the fish bundles in a bamboo steamer over a saucepan of 2-inches/5 cm boiling water. Steam until the fish is just cooked, about 10 minutes. Serve with the sauce (passed in a sauceboat). A bed of radishes and peas is the perfect accompaniment.

4. For the plate: Enjoy a piece of fish and a tumble of radishes and peas side by side on a plate.

4. Saltwater Steamed Lobster


8 lobsters, as large as you like

Fresh water

Sea salt


1. Find a pot large enough to fit all the lobsters in. Pour about 1 inch of water into it. Add a handful of salt. Taste the water, it should remind you of a day at the beach and be pleasingly salty. Bring to a boil.

2. To avoid nicks and cuts pull on a pair of cleaning gloves or other hand protection. Grasp the two legs of the lobster, cross them and hold them tightly. This will immobilize them as you slip the rubber bands off the claws. Drop them into the steaming water. Cover with a tight fitting lid and steam for 12 to 15 minutes.

3. Remove from pot and when they are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the tail, claws and knuckles.

5. Beer Steamed Lobster Tails



4 lobster tails, split in half

2 bottle amber ale

Salt and pepper


½ lb(s) French beans or green beans, ends trimmed

½ lb(s) baby zucchini or patty pan squash

½ lb(s) baby carrots, peeled and ends trimmed

½ lb(s) asparagus, woody ends trimmed



1. Preheat a grill to medium-high.

2. Place a large sauce pot or wok over medium-high heat, pour in beer and bring to a boil. Fit a steamer basket on top of the pot. Season the lobster tails with salt and pepper and place into the basket and cover with a tight fitting lid. Reduce heat and simmer for 6 minutes. Reserve steaming liquid.

3. Slice the lobster tails in half lengthwise and remove digestive tract. Brush the grill with oil and grill lobster tails, flesh side down for about 2 minutes, or until hot and grill marks appear.


1. Bring the beer back to a boil. Replace steamer basket on top of pot and add vegetables. Steam for 2-3 minutes until el dente, or just tender and still brightly coloured. Season with salt and pepper. Serve together with lobster tails.

6. Steamed Buns

The buns can be assembled up to 4 hours before steaming and kept refrigerated.


11 oz Pork loin with some fat, chopped or ground coarse

2 tsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp scallion greens, chopped

1 ½ tsp ginger root, chopped fine

6 Tbsp water

¼ cup stiff aspic - (jellied stock)

¼ basic yeast dough


1. Filling: Mix first 8 ingredients. Divide into 24 portions. Cut aspic into 24 portions.

2. Wrapper: Knead dough 5 min; roll out into a thin baguette; cut into 24 pieces. Flatten each piece into a 2" round; then go around with your fingers and squeeze the edges thin - the result should be a medium-thin center and a thin outside.

3. Forming the dumplings: Put 1 portion (½ oz) filling in the center of each round; top with 1 portion of aspic. Bring up the sides of each round and twist up in a decorative pattern, making sure to seal the top. If holes appear, patch them at once!

4. Steaming: Place the dumplings in a bamboo steamer on a square of waxed paper or a piece of bok choy/cabbage leaf. In a large saucepan or wok, bring water to a rolling boil. Sit the Steamer on a rack over the boiling water, close the lid and steam for 7-8 minutes. The dumplings are done when the filling feels firm to the touch. Serve with a small dish of thinly shredded ginger in vinegar.

5. Note on aspic: If you don't have any on hand, use about 1 ½ cup of homemade chicken broth (or good-quality canned low-salt broth): boil 1 cup of broth, uncovered, for about 2 min (reducing it quite a bit) while dissolving 1 envelope gelatin in the other ½ cup. Mix together and stir over low heat until all gelatin is dissolved. Chill. This will make a hard aspic, enough for 3 recipes of this dim sum.

7. Steamed Pork and Shrimp Dumplings


4 large dried black mushrooms, soaked in hot water to cover for 25 minutes and drained

½ lb. coarsely ground fat pork, such as pork butt

6 oz. shrimp meat or crabmeat, finely chopped

2 green onions, white and light green portions, finely chopped

1 tsp. superfine sugar

4 tsp. oyster sauce

1 Tbs. cornstarch

½ tsp. freshly ground white pepper

1 Tbs. vegetable or peanut oil, or 1 ½ tsp. each vegetable oil and sesame oil

24 round wheat-flour dumpling wrappers

2 to 3 tsp. vegetable oil

Light soy sauce, mild mustard or chili sauce for dipping


1. Remove and discard the stems from the mushrooms if necessary and very finely chop the caps. Place in a bowl, add the pork, shrimp and green onions and mix well. Mix in the sugar and oyster sauce, then stir in the cornstarch, white pepper and oil. Let the filling stand for 20 minutes.

2. To shape each dumpling, make a circle with the thumb and first finger of one hand and position a dumpling wrapper centrally over the circle. Place about 2 tsp. of the filling in the center of the wrapper, and gently push the dumpling through the circle so that the wrapper becomes pleated around the sides of the dumpling filling. You should have a cup-shaped dumpling with the top of the filling exposed.

3. Brush the rack of a steamer basket with the vegetable oil and place the dumplings in the basket, leaving some space between them. Bring water to a simmer in a steamer base. Set the basket in the steamer, cover tightly and steam the dumplings until the filling is firm, 7 to 8 minutes.

4. Serve the dumplings in the steamer basket or transfer to a plate. Accompany with soy sauce, mustard or chili sauce in small dishes for dipping.

8. Crispy-Skined Steamed Duck


1 duck 4 lb/2kg

2 teaspoons brandy

2 teaspoons vermouth

1/3 cup coarse salt or ¼ cup/75 ml table salt

4 cloves garlic mashed

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons pepper

1 lemon

4 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons liquid honey


1. With paper towels, pat duck dry. Rub inside and out with brandy then salt, distributing evenly. Place in dish and cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate for 24 hours. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate for up to 3 days, turning daily.)

2. Rinse salt off duck under cold running water; dry with paper towels. Pull off excess fat in cavity. Cut off tail bone and excess neck skin. Using skewer or toothpick, prick skin all over, being careful not to prick fat and meat underneath.

3. In small bowl, lightly mash together garlic, chopped rosemary and pepper; rub inside cavity. Peel off strips of lemon rind. Set aside.

4. In wok or large pot with 2 inches (5 cm) of water, bring all but 4 strips of the lemon rind and 2 of the rosemary sprigs to boil. Place duck, breast side up, in large bamboo steamer; lay remaining lemon rind and rosemary sprigs on top. Place steamer on wok. Reserving 1 ½ tsp (7 mL) lemon juice, squeeze remaining juice over duck. Cover and steam over medium-high heat for 70 minutes, adding more boiling water to maintain level as necessary.

5. Remove duck and carefully pour out liquid from body cavity. (Make-ahead: Let cool for 30 minutes; transfer to glass baking dish and refrigerate until cold. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.) Discard rosemary and lemon rind.

6. In small bowl, mix honey with reserved lemon juice; brush some over bottom of duck. Place duck, breast side down, on rack in roasting pan. Roast in 425°F (220°C) oven for 15 minutes or until golden. Turn duck over; brush all over with remaining honey mixture. Roast for about 15 minutes longer or until well browned, watching carefully to avoid burning.

9. Steamed Striped bass with Ginger Scallions


Vegetable oil, for frying

One 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks, plus 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger

¼ cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

1 teaspoon sugar

¼ teaspoon toasted-sesame oil

4 scallions, cut into ½ inch lengths

Four 6-ounce wild striped bass fillets, with skin

Salt and freshly ground white pepper

1 teaspoon Chinese fermented black beans, rinsed and minced

2 jalapeños, thinly sliced into rounds and seeded

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro


1. In a skillet, heat ¼ inch of vegetable oil. Add the ginger matchsticks and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden brown, 4 minutes. Transfer the ginger to paper towels to drain, leaving the oil in the skillet.

2. In a bowl, whisk the soy sauce with the rice wine, sugar and sesame oil. Set a bamboo steamer over a wok or an open steamer over a large, deep skillet. Add 2 inches of water to the wok and bring to a boil. Scatter the dark green parts of the scallions on a heatproof plate that will fit inside the steamer. Set the fish on the plate, skin side up. Using a knife, make 3 shallow slashes in the skin of each fillet. Pour the soy mixture over the fish and rub it all over. Season the fish lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the black beans and minced ginger on top. Set the plate in the steamer. Cover and steam for 7 minutes, until the fish is just cooked.

3. Just before the fish is done, reheat the oil in the skillet. Add the remaining scallions and the jalapeños and cook over moderate heat for about 2 minutes. Transfer the fish and its juices to shallow bowls. Top with the fried scallions, jalapeños and ginger matchsticks. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve.

10. Steamed Scallops with Ginger and Soy


12 scallops in the shell, removed from the shell and hard, shiny filament removed, replaced in the shell

3 tablespoons Chang's Light Soy Sauce

4 tablespoons Shaosing rice wine

1 teaspoons Chang’s Sesame Oil

1 clove garlic, crushed or grated

½ thumb ginger, grated

1 medium chilli, finely sliced (optional)

2 spring onions, white and pale green parts only, cut into 5cm pieced then shredded lengthways

24 coriander leaves


1. Place scallops on a plate in a large bamboo steamer. Set aside.

2. Combine soy sauce, Shaosing, sesame oil, garlic, grated ginger and chilli in a bowl, and spoon evenly over each scallop in the shell.

3. Place steamer over a wok of boiling water, and cook scallops for a 2-3 minutes or until just opaque.

4. Scatter spring onions and coriander over scallops and serve from steamer or on individual plates.

11. Tamales

Cook time: 2 hrs 25 mins 12 tamales


Tamale Stuffing

1 large onion, chopped

2 tablespoons/30 ml olive oil

4 cups/1 l wild mushrooms, chopped (a mix of king Erenghi, oyster and shiitake)

3/4 ounce/20 g dried mixed mushrooms, rehydrated

2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ cup/125 ml queso fresco

A bunch fresh chives, chopped

A bunch fresh parsley, chopped

2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and sliced

Masa Dough

2 cups/500 ml masa harina

1 ½ cups/375 ml stock (veal or chicken), or reserved liquid from dried mushrooms

½ teaspoon/2 ml salt

½ cup/125 ml lard, duck fat or butter, softened



Crumbled queso fresco

Chopped cilantro

3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Fresh berries, for serving


12 corn husks, soaked in water for 30 minutes. If you cannot find corn husks, use aluminum foil or parchment paper.

1. For the stuffing: In a large skillet, saute the onions in the oil over medium-high heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and continue sauteing until the moisture releases and completely evaporates, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat. Add the cheese and herbs and set aside.

2. For the masa: Combine the masa harina with the stock and salt. Work in the lard until you get a spreadable consistency. If necessary, add a bit more stock.

3. To assemble the tamales: Drain and pat dry the corn husks. Spread the masa about 1/8-inch thick on each corn husk with your fingers, leaving about 1/2-inch border along the sides and a 2-inch border along the top and bottom of the husks. The key to good tamales is to spread the masa thinly. Then, use about 2 tablespoons/30 ml of the mushroom stuffing per tamale. Top with 2 to 3 poblano strips. Fold the sides until they just overlap, fold the narrow end under and place the tamales folded-side down in the steamer.

4. To cook, steam the tamales, covered, in a bamboo steamer over simmering water until the masa is no longer sticky, about 1 hour. (The tamales can be kept in the freezer for 3 months.)

5. Serve the tamales garnished with salsa, crumbled queso fresco and cilantro.

Queso fresco can be substituted with any cheese, such as smooth goat cheese, feta, etc. You can stuff tamales with almost anything, pork, chicken, ground meat, etc.

12. Steamed Lemon Souffle Cakes


½ cup milk

2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

2 inch fresh lemongrass, bruised with the back of a knife

1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger

⅓ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup + 2 Tbsp sugar

1 pinch salt

2 large eggs at room temperature, separated

3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

fresh berries, for serving


1. Grease four 5-ounce ramekins or baking dishes and coat with sugar, tapping out the excess. Ready a large bamboo steamer (available at kitchen stores or Asian food stores) over a pan of barely simmering water (steam should be visible when you lift the bamboo steamer lid and the water should not come through the steamer).

2. Heat the milk with the lemon zest, lemongrass, and ginger until it reaches a gentle simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat, strain and cool to just above room temperature.

3. Stir the flour, the ¼ cup of sugar and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice by hand until frothy and pale (not doubled in volume). Whisk in the milk, then sift the flour mixture over and whisk in.

5. In another bowl, whip the whites until frothy, then add the remaining 2 Tbsp of sugar and continue whipping until the whites hold a soft peak when the beaters are lifted. Use a whisk to fold the whites into the batter in 2 additions. Pour the batter into the prepared ramekins.

6. Place the ramekins into the steamer and cover with the lid immediately. Let the soufflé cakes steam for about 25 minutes, taking care that the water underneath the steamer does not boil or simmer vigorously, until the cake soufflés to the top of the ramekin.

7. The cakes can be served warm, right from the steamer and in their dish, or cooled to room temperature and turned out. Serve with fresh berries.

13. Steamed Sweet Potatoes


2 sweet potatoes, quartered and scored

¼ cup vegetable oil

3 clove garlic, chopped

½ bunch green onion, chopped

3 Tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar

1 Tbsp fish sauce

¼ tsp chili paste from chili oil

1 bunch cilantro leaves, reserved from Daikon Broth recipe


1. Prepare steamer, bring water to a boil then reduce to a simmer and steam sweet potatoes until tender, approximately 20 minutes.

2. Heat oil in a small sauté pan, add garlic and lightly fry until golden brown.

3. Add green onions, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce and chili paste from chili oil.

4. Add cilantro and toss.

5. Spoon Green Onion Vinaigrette over Steamed Sweet Potatoes.

14. Steamed White Fish with Crispy Sweetbreads, Lemon-Caper Beurre Blanc


½ cup dry white wine

½ cup water

2 large lettuce leaves, for lining the basket

2 sprigs dill

1 salmon fillet (each about 7 ounces and 1 inch thick)

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper (or your special spice)

1 small green-cabbage leaf, for the cup

½ cup shelled fresh English peas or frozen, defrosted

½ tablespoon unsalted butter, cut in half

½ cup plain yogurt

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


1. Prepare steamer basket: Bring wine and water to a simmer in a large skillet or wok. Meanwhile, line the top of a small steamer basket with 1 lettuce leaf and a dill sprig. Season both sides of the salmon fillet with salt and pepper and place on top of the lettuce, then place remaining dill sprig over fish. Place the remaining lettuce leaf in the bottom basket and then top with cabbage "cup." Place the peas in the cup. Dot peas evenly with butter and season with salt.

2. Steam fish and peas: When the liquid in the skillet is boiling, set the basket with the peas in skillet, rest the salmon basket on top, then secure bamboo lid tightly in place. Steam until peas are just tender and bright green and fish is evenly opaque throughout, 7 to 9 minutes (you'll have to remove the basket to check).

3. Meanwhile, make sauce: Whisk together yogurt, lemon juice, and salt to taste. Serve salmon, cabbage, and peas immediately, with yogurt sauce on the side.

15. Steamed Snapper with Bok Choy


Steaming liquid

1 quart water

1 (3-inch) piece ginger, sliced

4 kaffir lime leaves, optional

1 (1 by 3-inch) piece lime peel

1 (1 by 3-inch) piece lemon peel

4 sprigs cilantro, plus more for garnish

3 scallions

1 cup white wine

1 jalapeno, cut into large pieces

2 tablespoons peanut oil


4 (4-ounce) pieces red snapper fillet, skin on

4 large Napa cabbage leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 baby bok choy, halved lengthwise


2 tablespoons peanut oil

1 tablespoon chopped ginger

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

½ jalapeno, thinly sliced

¼ cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons butter

2 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias, white and green parts kept separate

Cooked jasmine rice


1. Prepare steamer basket: Bring wine and water to a simmer in a large skillet or wok. Meanwhile, line the top of a small steamer basket with 1 lettuce leaf and a dill sprig. Season both sides of the salmon fillet with salt and pepper and place on top of the lettuce, then place remaining dill sprig over fish. Place the remaining lettuce leaf in the bottom basket and then top with cabbage "cup." Place the peas in the cup. Dot peas evenly with butter and season with salt.

2. Steam fish and peas: When the liquid in the skillet is boiling, set the basket with the peas in skillet, rest the salmon basket on top, then secure bamboo lid tightly in place. Steam until peas are just tender and bright green and fish is evenly opaque throughout, 7 to 9 minutes (you'll have to remove the basket to check).

3. Meanwhile, make sauce: Whisk together yogurt, lemon juice, and salt to taste. Serve salmon, cabbage, and peas immediately, with yogurt sauce on the side.