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8 Basic Methods of Cooking Fish

By Edited Sep 18, 2015 5 11

Cook or bake or braise or anything your fish

Different methods of cooking fish

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My previous article was about choosing, cleaning and cutting fish. This is a sequel which will teach you the basic methods of cooking fish. One reason why the rate of fish consumption is on the decrease is due to the lack of knowledge on preparing fish. Fish can be cooked in many ways, maybe 2 times the methods of making chicken or meat.

Fish has a tender flesh. So fish is cooked, to enhance its flavors and not to soften it. And fish is heated or cooked for very little time. Cooking fish should be done carefully because cooking on high heat or for a long period will harden the fish and lessen the fishy flavor. You now get fish cubes that can enhance the flavor of your fish dishes but it is always best to make your own stock instead of using processed food that are not so healthy.

Here are different methods of cooking fish, for you to try.


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Whole fish and fillets can be steamed provided that it is marinated well. When the water in the steamer reaches boiling point, place the top pan then place the buttered fish on it and steam for 10 minutes, tightly covered.



Whole fish fillets and steak can be baked. Place it in the greased oven tray. Pour the liquid over it. Water, stock or milk can be used. Then sprinkle herbs and flavorings. Finely grated vegetables such as shallots and carrots and lemon can be added.

Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven on 340F for 20 minutes. Serve without the liquid. The liquid can be used as sauce.


This is a very fast method of cooking fish. This can be used for herring, kippers and fillets like plaice.

Brush the fish with oil or apply savory butter (see my hub on Chinese sauces and savory butter for recipe) so that the fish remains moist. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, turning onto the other side halfway the cooking time.

If grilling whole, then leave the head and the tail intact as this will help the fish is no drying out.

If you are using fish that has thick flesh, then slit the flesh diagonally. This will allow the taste of the butter and the heat to penetrate.


This is often used for large fish. Warm the fish stock or water or milk and add flavorings such as rinds of lemon or herbs. Place the fish in the liquid and cook in medium heat for 15 minutes, And for less time, for whole fish. Be careful not to boil.

 Shallow frying

This is suitable for small whole fish, fillets and stakes. Coat the fish in bread crumbs, oatmeal, flavored flour or in batter, so as the natural juice doesn’t ease out.

Heat enough oil or butter in a pan so that the oil reaches 1 inch. Add the fish and cook over moderate heat for 5 to 10 minutes on each side. Drain on kitchen paper.

Deep frying braising

This method is suitable for small whole fish, cubed large fish, scampi and fillets.

This is just like shallow frying except that the fish is fully immersed in oil. Coat the it as before (shallow frying).heat lots of oil in a pan so much so the fish is fully immersed. Wait till the oil is hot enough. To test you can drop in a piece of, day old bread and if it turns brown in 1 minute, then the oil is hot enough. If the oil is too hot the outer part of the fish will brown and the flesh will be raw. If the oil is not hot, then the fish will be soggy. So the perfect temperature is very important.

Slowly immerse the fish in the oil and cook for 5 to 8 minutes. If by adding too much, the oil starts to froth then increase the heat. Drain on kitchen paper.


This can be done in a pan or an oven or on a hot plate.

Brown some vegetables like carrot, tomato, onion, celery and leeks, in melted butter. Cut the fish in chunks and add to the vegetables. Pour in 2 ¼ pints of water or stock and 15o ml of vinegar. Add herbs, salt and pepper to taste. Cook in moderate oven for 25 to 30 minutes or on the hot plates for 20 minutes.

 Devilled fish

This can be done for small whole fish, chunks or fillets. This curry is very spicy but the best from all the above.

Mix the fish in chili powder, vinegar, onions, green chili, tomato, pepper powder and salt. Put in a pan and add oil. Cook for 8 to 15 minutes.

Learn to make tasty herb fish


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  • 1 Kg Potato
  • 500 g any type of fish
  • 200g peas
  • 150 grams cheddar cheese
  • 80 g butter
  • 1 ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 200 ml fresh milk
  • 2 tbsp. oil


  1. Preheat oven to 180c.
  2. Add some salt to the potatoes and boil them. You may boil them cut or with the skin.
  3. Add salt and pepper (You can add some spice according to your preference but keep it to ½ tsp . totally)
  4. Add the butter too and mash the potatoes till creamy. If you have a puree machine or a blender you can easily blend it till smooth.
  5. Apply the oil on a baking tray and keep the boneless fish on it.
  6. Add all the milk and bake it for 15 minutes.
  7. Once the fish is baked, pour out the milk into a bowl and mash the fish. It is better if you can leave it with small pieces instead of making it into fine pieces.
  8. Now add this milk to the mashed potato and mix well.
  9. Add the peas and mix. (You can also serve the boiled and salted peas separate)
  10. In the same baking dish spread the fish evenly.
  11. Add the potato on top.
  12. Top it up with grated cheese.
  13. Bake this on 280c for another 15 minutes.
  14. Enjoy!






Jul 6, 2012 2:00am
Great article. I find fish a little tricky to get right.
Jul 7, 2012 9:44am
Oh no jj you will surely get it right with time. In my country we make something called 'ambul thiyal' I am sure any person will like it. It is fish cooked in tamarind water and spices. My mouth has started watering on the mention of the name.

Thank you so much for the comment.
Aug 18, 2012 5:00am
Nice article. My favorite way of eating basic fish is deep fried, but I struggle to get the temperature of the oil right. I suppose an electric frying pan would help. Wrapping it inside of a foil packet after seasoning helps to keep it moist too.
Aug 19, 2012 9:33am
Very true Rose the Unhealthiest method is the tastiest :). Let the oil heat on the fire till all the bubbles disappear and the oil clears. This is the perfect time. If the oil starts smoking after the bubbles disappear then the oil is too hot and the fish might get a dark color.
Marinating fish is easy and tasty.
Thank you so much for your comment.
Aug 18, 2012 5:01am
I meant to say, wrapping it inside of a foil packet and then baking it for 20 to 30 minutes.
Aug 19, 2012 9:41am
I love this method..Its tasty and healthy too.
Aug 18, 2012 6:30pm
This is a great article. I enjoy cooking fish - having steamed fish with some butter and fresh herbs makes a really nice meal.
Aug 19, 2012 9:44am
I agree with you totally. Thank you so much for your comment.
Aug 19, 2012 4:40pm
As a person who favors fish over meat, I really appreciate your article--My biggest challenge is forever overcooking fish. Anyway, 2 big thumbs up for U
Aug 20, 2012 2:18am
Thank you twice Marlando. Fish takes only a few minutes to cook. If you are adding it in a curry you should add it last and cook for 5 yo 7 minutes only.
Thank you so much for your comment and thumbs! :)
Aug 22, 2012 5:07am
I'm sure going to try some of some these. Never knew you can cook fish that way until I read this article. The recipe you shared looks really appetizing. :)
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