Steamed Fish with Spicy Broth and Cucumber

Instead of discarding fish bones, Justin Chapple uses them to enrich the steaming liquid (which also includes ginger, scallions, cilantro and sambal) for this sea bass. After it has been steamed, Justin strains that delicious broth and serves the fish in it.

Steamed Fish with Spicy Broth and Cucumber
Photo: © Con Poulos
Total Time:
30 mins


  • 1 (2-pound) black sea bass, filleted, bones reserved, and head discarded (have your fishmonger do this)

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1 (2-inch) piece of ginger, sliced and lightly crushed

  • 4 scallions

  • 3 cilantro sprigs

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek or other Asian chile sauce

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 English cucumber, spiralized 

  • Black sesame seeds, for garnish


  1. In a large, deep skillet, combine the fish bones with the tomatoes, ginger, scallions, cilantro, tomato paste and sambal. Add 6 cups of water and set a bamboo steamer on top. Bring the water to a boil, then simmer over moderate heat until the tomatoes start to break down, about 5 minutes.

  2. Drizzle the fish with oil and season with salt. Put the fish in the steamer basket skin side up, cover and steam over moderately low heat until just cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.

  3. Using a thin spatula, transfer the fish to shallow bowls. Strain the broth into a heatproof bowl; discard the solids. Season the broth with salt and ladle over the fish. Pile the cucumber alongside, garnish with sesame seeds and serve.

Serve with

Steamed rice.

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