Vietnamese Recipes & Cuisines (Seafood)

Sea Bass Steamed in Coconut Milk Recipe

This is a delicious recipe for any whole white fish, as as sea bass or cod, or for large chunks of trout or salmon. You will need a steamer large enough to fit the whole fish or , if using fish chunks, you can use a smaller steamer and fit the fish around the base. The recipe also works well in the oven - simply place the fish, tucked in foil, on a baking tray and bake. Serve this dish with plain or sticky rice or a Vietnamese vegetable salad.

Using pork or beef - This traditional recipe also works well with the loin of pork or fillet of beef. Simply slash the cuts of meat in several places and follow the method above. Once wrapped in foil, place the package on a baking tray and bake in a medium oven.

Ingredients : Serves 4

200 ml

10 ml

15 ml

2 cloves


4 cm

750 g


1 bunch

30 ml

1/4 teaspoon

1/4 teaspoon

Coconut milk

Raw cane or muscovado (molasses) sugar

Sesame or vegetable oil

Garlic, finely chopped

Red Thai chili, seeded and finely chopped

Ginger, peeled and grated

Sea bass, gutted and skinned on one side

Star anise, ground

Fresh basil leaves, stalks removed

Cashew nuts

Sea salt

Ground black pepper

Method :
  • Heat the coconut milk with the sugar in a small pan, stirring until the sugar dissolves, then remove from the heat.

  • Add the oil to a small frying pan and stir in the garlic, chili and ginger.

  • Cook until they begin to brown, then add the mixture to the coconut milk and mix well to combine.

  • Place the fish, skin side down, on a wide piece of foil and tuck up the sides to form a boat shaped container. Using a sharp knife, cut several diagonal slashes into the flesh on the top and rub with the ground star anise.

  • Season with salt and pepper and spoon the coconut milk over the top.

  • Scatter about half the basil leaves over the top of the fish and pull the sides of the foil over the top, so that it is almost enclosed (like a canoe).

  • Gently lay the foil packet in a steamer. Cover the steamer, bring the water to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until just cooked.

  • Meanwhile, roast the cashew nuts in the small frying pan, adding a little extra oil if necessary.

  • Drain the nuts on kitchen paper, then grind them to crumbs. When the fish is cooked, lift it out of the foil and transfer it to a serving dish.

  • Spoon the cooking juices over, sprinkle with the cashew nut crumbs and garnish with the remaining basil leaves.

  • Serve immediately.

More Seafood Recipes