Curried sea bass with coconut rice


Curried sea bass with coconut rice

After all my ranting about sustainable fishing I’m at a loss for words on this one. It turns out this bluenose sea bass, while sustainable, isn’t local, much to my disgust.

I know, the deal is is it sustainable right? Yes, but in the same breath it is nice to know I’m supporting our local fisheries. So how did I come about this particular fish, in a nutshell, bad timing.

I found myself in the city bowl and in need of fresh fish in a hurry, as shared The Little Fisherman is my fish monger of choice these days, but they are over in Constantia and I just wasn’t going to make it out there.

I stopped into a well known fishery in Woodstock on my way home, one whose praises I have indeed sung before, and who many of the Cape Town’s top restaurants source their fish from, I was truly disappointed.

I asked for a local, sustainable fish similar to sea bass in texture/taste, the staff there then sold me a fish known as ‘bluenose’, but for the life of me I couldn’t find it mentioned on their SASSI poster, which is WAY out of date.

Upon returning home I did a bit of digging and found out that bluenose IS a sea bass, indigenous to the coastal waters around Australia & New Zealand. It is a deep sea fish and is trawled, being a bottom dweller. My heart broke as trench trawling does immeasurable damage to the ocean seabed and I had unconsciously support it by buying this poor fish.

What this experience has shown me is that you need to find an honest and reputable fish monger and establish a relationship with them and if you do find yourself out of your own waters, don’t impulse buy, do some research first. Needless to say I won’t be returning to the aforementioned fishery… With that off my chest, lets get to the recipe.

This dish is amazing, oven grilled/baked fish atop a pea and bean basmati rice, fragrantly infused with spring onions, chilli, coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger and coconut milk.

The fish was scaled and pineboned, but I left the skin on, keeping in most of the juices. Both sides were then scored and rubbed down with a mix of salt, pepper and a mild curry powder.

The fish was then plated up atop of the rice mix and garnished with fresh spring onions and a mango atchar.

Despite my emotion wobble over the origin of the fish, it was a delicious meal and I can’t wait to try it again with some locally sourced yellowtail.

posted under Fast fish
3 Comments to

“Curried sea bass with coconut rice”

  1. Avatar December 13th, 2010 at 10:49 AM Gareth Allison Says:

    you caught a delicious bass!

  2. Avatar December 13th, 2010 at 11:05 PM Matt Allison Says:

    Well caught is a far stretch, but I did serve him us well.

  3. Avatar February 3rd, 2012 at 4:47 AM NotPaidToSayThis Says:

    Wow! My fishmonger also labeled their bluenose as U.S.-sourced. But you are right, the Monterey Aquarium website says there is no such thing. All bluenose is from the South Pacific, and most of what we import is from New Zealand.

    Of course, it is always possible that one or both of us really got local fish, it just wasn’t bluenose.

    The Aquarium website also said that there are too many unknowns to highly rate current bluenose fishing practices.

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