Baked sea bass with sticky coconut rice

by Lesley Holdship

A whole fish, Southeast Asian style

Peeling ginger is easy if you use a table knife to scrape the thin skin off as you perhaps would a new potato. You’ll have no waste. If you don’t use all the ginger, mince and freeze it in ice cube trays.


1 x 1.5kg sea bass
1 thumb sized piece ginger, peeled and sliced
2 limes, cut into slices
6-8 kaffir lime leaves
2 lemongrass stalks, bashed a little
1 generous handful of coriander
1 green chilli
2 tbsp groundnut or sunflower oil

For the coconut rice:
150ml can coconut cream
2 kaffir lime leaves
250g jasmine rice, rinsed


Preheat the oven to 160C. If your fishmonger hasn’t done it already for you, gut and descale the fish, marvelling at its beauty as you do so!

With a lovely sharp knife, cut 4 or 5 slashes in the fish then lay it on a generous length of foil. Fill the slashes with slices of ginger, lime and kaffir lime leaves. Fill the cavity with the lemon grass, coriander, chilli and any remaining ginger, kaffir and lime slices.

Sprinkle with sea salt, drizzle with the oil then bring up the foil and seal tightly. Slide into the oven and bake for 20 mins.

To cook the rice, bring the coconut cream to the boil with 450ml water and the lime leaves. Stir in the rice with a touch of salt. Cover and simmer for 18-20 mins. Turn off the heat and leave covered for the time it takes to investigate the bass.

Present the bass to the table, unwrap and serve with the coconut rice.

ALTERNATIVE: This recipe works really well with salmon too, just choose a fish of the same size.