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Tag Archives: low-fat

Cantonese-style steamed fish (family recipe)

This is a Ken Hom recipe that’s quick, easy and very tasty. If you have a bamboo steamer it’s even easier, but it’s not that difficult to improvise a steamer using a metal rack over a wok or deep pan.

I like to sit my bamboo steamer on top of a saucepan with the bottom rim of the steamer resting over the top of the saucepan. Whichever steaming method you use, make sure the steamer bottom is above the boiling water. Also check the water while the fish is cooking to make sure it doesn’t boil dry.

I also prefer to use baking paper inside my steamer rather than sitting the fish on a plate, but you do need to make sure you don’t press the baking paper too firmly into the bottom of the steamer (the steam from the boiling water needs some space to come up and do its job).

Tear off a piece of baking paper just slightly bigger than your steamer…

fold it in half & in half again, then bring the right bottom corner up to the top left corner…

and finally fold the right side over again to form a slimmer triangular shape.

Place the folded point in the centre of the steamer to measure where you can tear off any excess paper.

Unfold and lightly press into the steamer.

In the original recipe, Ken Hom salts the fish fillets beforehand to firm up the flesh. Of the many times I’ve made this, I think I’ve only done this once (I either forget about it until there’s no time before dinner to do it, or I just can’t be bothered doing the extra step – yes, call me lazy!). The idea is if you rub the fillets all over with salt, leaving for 30 mins, the salt draws out the excess moisture leaving you with firmer flesh. You then need to rinse off the salt and pat dry with kitchen towel. You can also use this recipe with cleaned whole fish (increase the steaming time to 12-15 mins in total).
If you’re making this to also serve to a baby, leave the seasoning off an end of the fish and don’t sprinkle the ginger over this part. After the fish is cooked, mash the baby’s piece or puree to the desired consistency, double-checking for any bones. Add a tiny drizzle of olive oil before serving if you wish (adding a drop or two of olive oil to cooked baby food is very common in Italy, and is seen as a healthy way to add a little bit of needed fat to a baby’s diet). I’ll leave it to your good judgment if you’re serving the fish to a toddler.

Serve the steamed fish with plain rice or a simple fried rice.


Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 5-10 mins
Serves 2 adults and 1 toddler or baby

2 large fillets of firm white fish (cod, sole, haddock, etc)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3cm piece of ginger, finely shredded or finely diced
1 spring onion, finely shredded
1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1/2 tbsp groundnut or vegetable oil
1 tsp sesame oil
coriander sprigs to serve

Pat the fillets dry with kitchen towel. Season with salt and pepper.

Set up a bamboo steamer, or put a rack into a wok or deep pan, and fill with  about 5cm of water. Bring to the boil.

Place fish on a heatproof plate and scatter the shredded ginger evenly over. Place in the steamer, cover tightly and gently steam until just cooked through (flat fish fillets: 5 mins; thicker fillets 7-10 mins). Keep covered until ready to serve.

Just before serving, heat the groundnut and sesame oils together in a small saucepan over a med-low heat until it just starts to smoke.

To serve the fish, sprinkle over the spring onions and soy sauces, then pour over the hot oil. Garnish with coriander sprigs.

Quiche muffins

Thinking of something light I could make for a friend dropping in for lunch that would also be fine for Nicholas, I remembered coming across a recipe for making mini quiches without pastry. For some strange reason I hadn’t saved it on my Pinterest cooking board, so I had to make it up. Thankfully not that difficult.

Instead of pastry, the muffin ‘cases’ are made with ham. One of those brilliant ideas you wonder why you never thought of it yourself. Even if you buy ready-made pastry you need to cut it out and prebake it just to make sure it cooks through. Not that I’m a lazy cook (well…) but I do love a super quick recipe that requires very little thinking. Also not having pastry means it’s great if you happen to be following the Dukan diet.

I tried using prosciutto for some and slices of peppered cooked ham for others. While the ham was yummy, the prosciutto was nicer because it crisps up, especially around the edges. If you use prosciutto, be careful not to add too much salt to the egg mixture as the prosciutto is salty.

Like traditional quiches you can really add almost anything you want. Fry up some onion and pop it in the bottom before you pour in the egg mixture, do they same with mushrooms or asparagus tips, add a slice of tomato or, my favourite, add a dollop of creme fraiche.

I have yet to master lining the cups so the egg mixture doesn’t run out (you can see in my photo that it looks more like the prosciutto is through the muffin rather than encasing it), but so long as you grease the cups beforehand and then run a knife around the edge after they’re done, it doesn’t really matter.

They’d be great in lunch boxes or to take on a picnic. I can also see them smaller as party finger food. Definitely versatile! I haven’t tried freezing them yet; they’d probably need a bit of time in the oven to crisp up after thawing.


Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15-18 mins
Makes 6 large muffins

6 slices prosciutto (Parma ham)
6 eggs
2 tbsp milk
20g cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and pepper
Oil for greasing muffin tray

Preheat oven to 175C.

Lightly grease a 6-cup muffin tray and line each muffin cup with prosciutto.

Lightly beat the eggs and milk together and season. Pour evenly into each cup (don’t worry if it doesn’t seem enough mixture as it will rise as it cooks). Sprinkle over the grated cheese.

Cook for 15-18 mins until egg mixture has set.


  • Add a dollop of creme fraiche to each cup before pouring in the egg mixture.
  • Put lightly fried onion in each cup before pouring in the egg mixture.
  • Add cooked mushroom or asparagus tips, or sliced tomato

Creme fraiche fish (adult recipe)

I’ve realised living in the UK (just gone eight years now… wow how time flies) I crave comfort food. A lot. Food has always been something I turn to when I’m sad, depressed or even bored especially during the colder months, and the regular grey skies and drizzly days here really take their mental toll on hubby and me. Since moving to the UK from Italy we’ve both gotten fatter. Not good!

So I’ve been on the search for low-calorie but tasty dinners. And they also need to be fairly quick and easy. This fish recipe has now become a favourite and tastes great (I don’t feel deprived at all!). The ‘secret’ is replacing the creme fraiche in the original recipe by Barefoot Contessa with low-fat creme fraiche. I don’t think anyone could taste the difference.

Smothering the fish with the mustardy creme fraiche keeps the fish lovely and moist, and there’s less chance of it overcooking. It goes great with the grated courgette/zucchini from this recipe (and it’s also low in calories). A perfect midweek meal that’s quick to make and tasty.


Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Makes 2 adult servings

2 white fish fillets (eg. haddock, cod or plaice)
4 tbsp low-fat creme fraiche
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp whole grain mustard
2 tsp capers, drained
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200C. Line a baking tray or an ovenproof baking dish with baking paper.

Sprinkle the baking paper with salt and pepper to season the underside of the fish. Place the fish fillet on the paper (skin side down if it still has skin). Season the top with salt and pepper.

Put the creme fraiche in a small bowl and mix in the two mustards and the capers.

Spoon the mustardy creme fraiche evenly over the fish, making sure to completely cover it.

Bake for 10 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let sit for a couple of minutes. If you’re not sure if it’s cooked through, put a knife into a thick part and see if the flesh flakes.

Serve with a green salad or stir fried grated courgette/zucchini.


  • the original recipe also has finely diced shallots in the sauce
  • add some fresh herbs (chives, parsley, etc) either to the sauce or sprinkle over at the end
Do you have any low-fat yummy recipes to share?