Black Bass Packets in Curry-Coconut Broth

Tender blanched Savoy cabbage leaves make a wrapper for the bass and julienned vegetables. The packet traps the steam inside to keep the fish moist while it cooks and makes for a stunning presentation when nestled into the broth.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Additional Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs
4 packets



  • 1 teaspoon canola oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped

  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, trimmed and thinly sliced

  • 2 cups bottled clam juice

  • ¾ cup water

  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk

  • 2 ½ teaspoons curry powder

  • Pinch of sugar

  • Pinch of salt

Bass Packets

  • 8 large leaves Savoy cabbage

  • cup finely julienned carrot

  • cup finely julienned fennel

  • 4 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced

  • 8 fresh tarragon leaves

  • 1 pound black bass or red snapper, skinned and cut into 4 portions

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper

  • 1 small tomato, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips

  • 1 scallion, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

  • Juice of 1/2 lime


  1. To prepare broth: Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic, shallot and lemongrass and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add clam juice, water, coconut milk and curry powder. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Season with sugar and salt. Set aside.

  2. To prepare bass packets: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Have a bowl of ice water nearby. Blanch cabbage leaves in boiling water until pliable, 2 to 3 minutes. With tongs, immediately transfer the leaves to the ice water. Drain, pat dry and set aside.

  3. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Cook carrot just until tender, about 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl. Cook fennel just until tender, about 3 minutes. Add to the carrot. Cook shiitakes for 30 seconds. Drain and toss with the carrot mixture.

  4. Trim the tough center stem from each cabbage leaf. Lay a 16-inch-long sheet of heavyweight plastic wrap on a work surface and place 2 cabbage leaves in the center, overlapping them by about 2 inches. Arrange one-fourth of the carrot mixture across the center of the cabbage. Top with 2 tarragon leaves. Place a piece of fish on top and sprinkle with 1/4 of the salt and pepper. Wrap the cabbage leaves around the bass, roll up the packets in plastic and twist the ends tightly; trim excess plastic with scissors. Repeat with the remaining cabbage leaves, vegetables, tarragon and bass.

  5. Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket. Add the packets and steam until cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. (See Tip, below.)

  6. Bring the reserved broth back to a boil. Unwrap the packets (discard the plastic) and cut each one in half. Place 2 halves in each of 4 shallow bowls and ladle the broth around them. Garnish with tomato, scallion and lime juice. Serve immediately.


To make ahead: Refrigerate broth (Step 1) for up to 2 days. Refrigerate packets (Step 4) for up to 6 hours.

Equipment: Heavyweight plastic wrap

Tip: To test for doneness, insert a metal skewer into the fish, then touch the tip to your wrist. If it's warm but not hot, the fish is properly cooked.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

169 Calories
4g Fat
9g Carbs
25g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 169
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 25g 49%
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 53mg 18%
Vitamin A 2673IU 53%
Vitamin C 18mg 20%
Folate 49mcg 12%
Sodium 433mg 19%
Calcium 71mg 5%
Iron 2mg 10%
Magnesium 88mg 21%
Potassium 807mg 17%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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