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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

Reviews (6 reviews)

  • user-540272 | 07/16/2020

    It is so delicious. A lot flavours. I will definitely cook it again.

  • ff | 08/19/2018

    Wow, amazing flavor from the sauce. I added a bed of baby zucchini and sauteed shitakes on top of the sauce. The only problem I had was in getting a hot sear on the sea bass, the marinade began to burn, I transferred it to another pan and finished it in the oven to about 120 degrees F. Rave reviews. Also, I didn't have any green curry paste so I used red, it came out wonderfully; I'll have to try green. Finally, I used 1/2 a garden habanero (be careful of these) and it came out with an understated heat.

  • 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!

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