Healthy Steamed Fish Recipe Using Pompano [Thai Style]

Steamed golden pompano with kaffir lime sauce

Last week, I was lucky enough to receive some kaffir limes from a former classmate (shout out to Noona Ysa!). Because I didn’t have ingredients for a tom yum, I decided to make a Thai-style steamed fish dish instead since I also had some golden pompano ordered from Smart Basket (Thanks Noona Nikki!).

If you don’t have kaffir limes, don’t worry. lemons and regular limes work well too. You can also use our native calamansi or any citrus you like.

lemon, kaffir lime and chilis

This is a healthier alternative to steamed fish dishes that use butter for flavor. It’s also very fast and easy to make. Nevertheless, all the aromatics pack a punch of flavor that won’t make you feel like you’re eating a low-calorie dish. Be warned though, you might eat too much steamed white rice with this. Maybe go for brown rice or quinoa instead.



1 tbsp. minced garlic

1 tbsp. minced ginger

3 tsp. Thai fish sauce or 1 tsp. Filipino Patis

1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth

3 tsp. lime or lemon juice (about half the fruit, slice the rest)

1 tsp sugar (I used stevia for a healthier version)

salt and pepper


  1. Clean your fish and make sure all the scales and innards have been removed. Open up the cavity and fill with a few citrus slices. Make about three slits across the body on both sides and season the whole fish with salt and pepper (about a teaspoon salt and just a pinch of pepper. It depends what kind of salt you use).
  2. Get your steamer ready. Put your whole fish in a heat-proof pan (or an improvised aluminum foil basket if you don’t have one). Alternatively, you can bake the fish if you don’t have a steamer or large covered wok which you can use to improvise. Get the water to a rolling boil and steam the fish for five minutes.
  3. Mix all of your sauce ingredients and pour over the fish. Steam for a further 15-20 minutes on medium heat depending on how big your fish is.
  4. Check for doneness and pull out the whole pan once done. Top with more citrus slices and optional chopped chili if you want to make it spicy.
  5. Serve immediately with hot, steaming rice! Make a Thai papaya salad if you have the ingredients! I served mine with a kani salad. Enjoy!
Thai-style steamed fish