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Seared Sea Bass with Spicy Lemongrass Crust

Alan Richardson

Yield: Yields about 1 cup sauce.

Servings: four.

You can substitute another white fish, such as halibut, or even chicken or pork for the sea bass.


For the Thai green curry sauce:

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1-1/2 tsp. green curry paste
  • 2/3 cup homemade or low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 Tbs. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbs. water
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

For the sea bass:

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped lemongrass (1 to 2 stalks)
  • 1 Tbs. crushed red pepper flakes; more to taste
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs. water
  • 4 sea bass fillets (6 oz. each)
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. vegetable oil

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size with 1/4 cup sauce
  • Calories (kcal) : 390
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 190
  • Fat (g): 21
  • Saturated Fat (g): 11
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 70
  • Sodium (mg): 1290
  • Carbohydrates (g): 16
  • Fiber (g): 3
  • Protein (g): 35


Make the curry sauce:

  • In a small saucepan, heat 3 Tbs. of the coconut milk over low heat. Add the curry paste; stir to dissolve. Let the mixture simmer until fragrant, about 2 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add the chicken broth, remaining coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, and turmeric. Simmer until slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. In a separate small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water. Use this to thicken the sauce by adding 1 tsp. at a time and stirring well. Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice. 

Prepare the sea bass:

  • In a bowl, combine the lemongrass, red pepper flakes, garlic, turmeric, salt, sugar, and water. Add the sea bass, turning to cover it, and marinate for about 20 minutes.
  • In a nonstick frying pan large enough to hold the fish, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the fillets and cook until just done, 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Remove from the heat and drain on paper towels. Serve the fish in a pool of green curry sauce..

Make Ahead Tips

The green curry sauce will keep, covered and refrigerated, for about a week.

For any dish with spicy heat, a sweeter wine gives you the best balance. Fruity-floral Rieslings and Gewürztraminers are ideal. Try Kabinett-level Rieslings from Gunderloch and Zilliken. Or try these varietals: from California, Edmeades’ Mendocino Gewürztraminer or Bonny Doon’s Pacific Rim Riesling; or from the Pacific Northwest, Amity Gewürztraminer of Oregon or Hogue Riesling from Washington. 


Green curry paste is available in Asian markets and in some supermarkets. 


Rate or Review


  • user-4214130 | 12/06/2014

    Very nice. There was enough sauce and fish spice mix to make 8 sea bass filets, with sauce left over to top off the fragrant brown rice I made as a side dish. I even had some sauce left over which I had to sadly bin --- well worth it, though and no complaints, only compliments!

  • jdrew | 03/20/2010

    This is really delicious, even without the sauce. I made it with black cod which is comparably rich and buttery as seabass. Easy enough for a weeknight.

  • roinuj | 07/02/2009

    This was very good - and easy to make. My only negative comment would be that the combination of the coconut milk and the Chilean Sea Bass that I used made it a bit too rich for my taste. When I make it again - I'll use Halibut or another ligher fish (to be fair - the recipe didn't call for "Chilean" Sea Bass).

  • SVcook | 11/25/2007

    This is the only fish recipe my husband truly enjoys. It tastes like somehing you'd be delighted to be served in a fine Vietnamese restaurant. Despite its complex flavor, it's very easy to prepare.

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