Soy-Steamed Salmon Fillets

Salmon fillets are easy to steam in an electric rice cooker

Many people made their resolutions to eat more healthfully. Too many, though, have it in their minds that eating foods that are good for you means giving up on pleasure.

So I'm happy to tell you that it is possible to cook a delicious dinner that's healthful, totally satisfying, and delicious.

The secret lies in using the right cooking method, choosing good ingredients, and selecting seasonings that deliver big flavor. And the recipe I share with you here for salmon fillets steamed with Asian seasonings and served on a bed of robust brown rice -- a good source of fiber and nutrients -- is a perfect example of those principles.

Let's talk first about the cooking method. Mention steaming and lots of home cooks instantly imagine bland food. But that couldn't be further from the truth. You can add lots of flavor simply by first briefly marinating the food you'll be steaming; and then even more by making sure the cooking liquid producing the steam is flavorful, too.

Steaming, by the way, is also incredibly convenient, especially if you use a rice cooker for both the rice and the salmon. Originally popular in Japan, these very inexpensive countertop appliances are now widely available in the Western world, as well. Maybe you got one as a holiday gift. If not, you can find them easily online (I even have my own brand through Home Shopping Network, HSN) or in many department stores or cookware shops. Both the rice and the salmon cook to perfection inside the rice cooker, and all at just the touch of a button.

As for marinating the salmon, that takes less than half an hour, so you can do it after you start the rice. I use a little mushroom soy sauce (available in Asian markets and the Asian foods section of good-sized supermarkets), plus fresh ginger, garlic, and green onion; but feel free to vary the seasonings with whatever sounds good to you.

The same holds true for flavoring the steam, which in this case comes from the liquid in which the brown rice cooks. I use convenient canned broth, plus robust dried shiitake mushrooms, good olive oil, and -- because I like a little spice -- a touch of crushed red pepper flakes.

Try this Rice-Cooker Soy-Steamed Salmon Fillets recipe my way the first time you prepare it. Then, start making it your own. Use other fish fillets you like in place of the salmon. Replace the Asian seasonings with a little olive oil and citrus juice, plus your favorite herbs or spices. Add chopped sauteed onion, bite-sized pieces of vegetable, or even dried fruit to the brown rice. You'll soon be surprised to find you have a growing repertoire of delicious dinners -- and all of them healthy!

Rice-Cooker Soy-Steamed Salmon Fillets With Shiitake Brown Rice

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook time: 30 minutes

    Yield: Serves 2

Rice-Cooker Soy-Steamed Salmon Fillets With Shiitake Brown Rice Ingredients

    Shiitake Brown Rice

    1-1/4 cups organic vegetable broth or chicken broth

    2/3 cup uncooked brown rice

    1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in cold water to cover until softened, about 15 minutes, then drained and cut into slices

    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

    1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

    1 bay leaf


    Freshly ground black pepper

    Soy-Steamed Salmon

    2 salmon fillets, each 3 to 4 ounces

    1 tablespoon bottled mushroom soy sauce

    2 teaspoons finely shredded fresh ginger

    2 green onions: 1 cut into 1-inch pieces, then each piece cut into long, thin shreds; and 1 cut into thin diagonal slices

    1 large garlic clove, peeled and cut lengthwise into thin shreds

    In the bowl of an electric rice cooker, put the vegetable or chicken broth, brown rice, drained shiitake mushrooms, olive oil, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, and a little salt and pepper to taste. Stir briefly to combine. Close the rice cooker and press the "cook" button. Cook for 30 minutes.

    Meanwhile, put the salmon fillets on a plate. Rub them with the mushroom soy sauce, top with the shredded ginger, shredded green onion, and garlic, and set aside at room temperature to marinate for about 20 minutes.

    After marinating, carefully transfer the salmon fillets to the steamer basket insert that came with the rice cooker, or to another steamer basket of a size that will fit within the rice cooker.

    Turn off the rice cooker. Carefully open the lid, avoiding the steam, and place the steamer basket on top of the rice. Close the lid again, set to "cook," and continue cooking until the salmon is done, cooked through but still moist and slightly pink in the center, 10 to 15 minutes longer depending on your taste.

    Carefully open the machine and lift out the steamer basket, setting it aside. With a fork, fluff the rice.

    To serve, spoon the rice onto individual heated plates. Place a salmon filet on top of the rice and garnish with the remaining thinly sliced green onion.

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