My Recipe Box

Flounder Poached in Coconut, Ginger & Basil Broth


Serves six.

  • To learn more, read:
    Make Room for Basil
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 79

Though regular Genovese basil will add a lovely aroma to the Southeast Asian flavors of this dish, the slightly spicier, more anise-y notes of Thai or opal basil are an even better fit.

  • 6 skinless flounder fillets, 1 to 1-1/2 pounds total
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground white pepper
  • 1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger (I use a rasp-style grater)
  • 1 cup roughly chopped sweet basil or Thai basil
  • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced 1/8 inch thick on the diagonal (about 2 cups)
  • 1 small fresh hot red chile (or jalapeño), sliced into thin rings (seeds intact)
  • 1 cup homemade or low-salt chicken broth
  • 5-1/2-oz. can coconut milk
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal (about 1 cup)
  • 2 Tbs. fish sauce
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbs. mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lime zest
  • 1 cup jasmine rice, cooked
Try tying the fillets with dark green scallion tops instead of using toothpicks. Dip the green tops in boiling water for 15 seconds so they’re pliable and tie in a loose knot around the rolled fish fillets.

Spread the fillets on a work surface, skin side down. Season lightly with salt and white pepper. Divide the 1 Tbs. grated ginger among the fillets and spread as evenly as you can. Sprinkle about 1 Tbs. of the chopped basil over the fillets. Roll each fillet, starting at the thicker end. Secure each roll with a toothpick (or green scallion tops (see the tip below). Sprinkle the rolls lightly with a little more salt and white pepper. Set aside.

In a small (4-quart) Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid (or other heavy-duty pot just large enough to hold the fish snugly), heat the oil over high heat until it shimmers.

Add the shallot, ginger matchsticks, and garlic. Sauté for 1 min., stirring constantly. Add the celery and sauté for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the chile and continue to sauté, stirring, until the celery starts to soften, about 2 min. Add the chicken broth and heat for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and arrange the rolled fish in a single layer over the celery mixture. Pour the coconut milk over the fish and turn the heat to high. As soon as the coconut milk comes to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium low and cover. Simmer until the fish is opaque and cooked through, 8 to 10 min. If you’re unsure, flake apart a section to see if it’s done. Remove the pot from the heat.

Carefully transfer the fish with a slotted spoon or fish spatula to a small, warm platter.

Return the pot to high heat. Add the remaining basil, along with the scallions, fish sauce, lime juice, mirin, and lime zest. Bring the broth just to a simmer. Taste the broth and add more salt or mirin if needed.

For each serving, place a small mound of hot jasmine rice in a shallow bowl, top with a fish roll, and remove the toothpick. Ladle the hot broth over each fish roll and serve immediately.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with Steamed Jasmine Rice.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on six servings, Calories (kcal): 320, Fat (kcal): 10, Fat Calories (g): 90, Saturated Fat (g): 6, Protein (g): 34, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1.5, Carbohydrates (mg): 21, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 2, Sodium (g): 910, Cholesterol (g): 85, Fiber (g): 2,

Photo: Scott Phillips

This was SO GOOD! I had to substitute cod for the flounder because I couldn't find any around here. It is thicker, so it was a little challenge rolling it and pinning it together with the toothpicks, but it worked just fine.

This recipe is spectacular and is so versatile. It should be a 6 star. I used halibut and prawns instead of flounder. (Don't think we have flounder on the west coast). Had some bok choy that I tossed in at the end. Yum, yum, yum. Next time, I would toss in more veggies. The sauce is divine. Definitely a 'company' dish.

Love how this turned out. A perfect Sunday evening meal. I used a one pound cod filet instead of thinner flounder filets. I cooked it for 12 minutes, since it was thicker. Added all the basil to the sauce. Served it with Jasmine rice.

Grouper was a fish I chose for this recipe . I received nothing but compliments. Grouper is a firm flesh white fish native to the Texas/Carolinas waters.

delicious thai infused fish at home ! definitely restaurant worthy, even tho had no flounder ( used walleye, also called pike ), basmati rice, and " normal " basil- quite a bit of prep work, so not that quick, but definitely worth it- even my picky teenager ate it all..

Excellent! I was amazed at the complexity of flavor for a rather simple preparation. I am trying it again with wahoo, as I feel it would be good with most seafood.

Fantastic! Delicious and fast; made the whole thing in the time it took the rice to cook. The broth tasted elegant and complex but obviously was not, we made it for a weeknight supper and will again.

Absolutely delicious and highly recommended. It was a bit time consuming with all the prep work, but well worth the outcome.

I don't really like fish. I expected this to be "tolerable" when I brought it to the table. (I needed to use up a bunch of my garden basil). Then my husband and I proceeded to devour it. I can't believe how tasty this is, and will be making it again very soon.

I have made this dish 3 times now and it is great!! I even switch types of fish for instance halibut fillets.

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