I have seen steamed fish dishes where the fish is cooked on top of the rice in a rice cooker. I'd like to try this, but I don't have a rice cooker and always cook my rice in a pot. Does anyone know how to adapt this style of cooking to work in a pot?

My usual method of cooking rice is as follows:

  • 2 c basmati rice
  • 2.5 c water

Bring to boil, then turn down to minimum and cover. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and let stand (leaving lid on) for 10 minutes.

So would this method be similar to how a rice cooker works? When would I add the fish?

To clarify: I'm looking to cook the fish directly on top of the rice while it's steaming, like you could do in a rice cooker. If possible I'd like to do this without any additional cooking equipment.

  • Are you sure that the recipe tells you to put the fish directly on top of the rice in the rice cooker? Most rice cookers have a steaming attachment that is used to steam fish, meats, etc. The only things put directly on top of rice are generally fast cooking vegetables or partially cooked things (eg. chinese sausage), and this can be done antyime after the water in the rice cooker has started boiling. But a rice cooker is insulated, so not sure that you could duplicate this in a pot Sep 22, 2014 at 17:22

3 Answers 3


Easy! I steam fish about 1x per week with a bamboo steamer. You need to take advantage of the steam rising from the pot which can steam your fish in exactly the same way as the rice cooker - so you get a Bamboo Steamer like this one (available in tons of different places, including cooking-supply stores, Asian Foods stores, etc): http://www.amazon.com/Norpro-Deluxe-3-Piece-Bamboo-Steamer/dp/B00005EBH8

This steamer is basically open at the bottom (with bamboo slats) so you set this on top of the boiling pot, and it fills with steam, cooking the fish. It's recommendable that you wrap the fish in wax paper (I use baking paper in a pinch) and that will keep it from sticking to the bamboo.

Hope this helps! I recommend buying a bamboo steamer like this one - it's a common kitchen item that you can use for a ton of steaming - i.e. veggies, broccoli, fish, etc. No need to even be cooking rice - you just place this over a pot of boiling water, and it works great!

  • 1
    I was actually hoping for a method where I just place the fish on top of the rice directly. Would this not work?
    – Allison
    Feb 14, 2011 at 6:56
  • I would only recommend you try a Sous Vide approach. Sous Vide involves sealing the fish (or other food) in a airtight vacuum-seal plastic pouch, and placing it in hot water where it cooks from the inside out! Because rice will be cooked in 10-12 minutes, you need to pick a fish that will be properly cooked in that time using the Sous Vide method - so check out this cooking time chart to select a fish that cooks in 10-12 minutes using this approach: sousvidecooking.org/…
    – Jamison
    Feb 14, 2011 at 16:22

Cook the rice in the normal way, then halfway through the cook add your fish directly on top of rice with whatever sauce or spices.

  • how do you know this method will have a similar result as using a rice cooker?
    – Esther
    May 2, 2022 at 17:45
  • Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    May 4, 2022 at 20:01

Idk why people think it can't be done in a pot, but can only be done in a rice cooker. I mean how did they cook rice before the electronic rice cooker was invented? I'm sure they didn't have 6 and 8 range burners, anyways I digress.

Depends on the size (mainly thickness) of the fish. Rice typically takes 20 minutes to cook/boil, then a 10-15 minute steam. Though the during the steam period the temperature is decreasing.

I suggest experimenting with:

A) Wrapping the fish (bamboo, lily, or banana leaf - parchment paper would work too) and placing above the boiling rice/water.

B) Alternatively use a trivet to keep the fish above water and allow the steam to cook the fish. If you have the three legged stainless steel rack style trivets then a plate or dish will be needed to hold your fish onto. Instead of the collapsible types that open like a flower.

Note: when you cook your rice normally, instead of removing from the heat you can keep it on a low heat for the 10 minutes, or switch heat off and leave on the stove or a hot surface. This should keep more heat in if you need to.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.