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Steamed fish fillets with spring vegetables

Bamboo steamer baskets are very handy for this dish – you can stack them so that everything can be steamed together. The moist heat from steaming ensures that the fish doesn't dry out. If using a purchased stock, dilute it as it will get a lot of flavour from the marinade.

Steamed fish fillets with spring vegetables
Reader's Digest


  • 4 sea bass fillets, 3.5 cm thick, about 150 g each
  • 3 cups (750ml) fish stock
  • 1 cup (185g) couscous
  • 1 strip of lemon zest
  • 250 g baby carrots12 spring onions, trimmed to about 10 cm long
  • 200 g asparagus tips
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry, dry white wine or vermouth


  1. First make the marinade. Combine the ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and sherry, wine or vermouth in a bowl. Add the fish and turn to coat in the marinade. Set aside.
  2. Bring 1 cup (250 ml) of the stock to the boil in a saucepan that will accommodate the steamer basket(s). 
  3. Put the couscous in a bowl and pour over the hot stock. Cover and stand for about 15 minutes or until the couscous has swelled and absorbed the liquid.
  4. Pour the remaining stock into the saucepan. Add the lemon zest and bring to the boil. 
  5. Add the carrots to the pan. Reduce the heat so the stock simmers.
  6. Place the fish, skin side down, in a single layer in a steamer basket. 
  7. Add the spring onions and asparagus, or put them in a second stacking steamer basket. 
  8. Place the steamer basket(s) over the stock and cover. Steam for 10–12 minutes or until the fish is opaque throughout and begins to flake, and the vegetables are tender.
  9. When the couscous is ready, add the chopped parsley and fluff the grains with a fork to combine the couscous and parsley. 
  10. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Lift the steamer basket(s) off the pan. Drain the carrots, reserving the cooking liquid. Arrange the fish, carrots and steamed vegetables on warm plates with the couscous. 
  12. Discard the lemon zest from the cooking liquid. 
  13. Moisten the fish, vegetables and couscous with a little of the liquid, and serve with any remaining liquid as a sauce.

Serves 4
Preparation: 30 minutes

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