LUCY POTTER concocts a recipe to chase away the cold

FEELING under the weather during this notably cold snap, my meals this week have been primarily based around their medicinal and warming properties.

Ginger fits the bill perfectly.

Its warming quality stimulates circulation and digestion, and it also boosts immunity particularly when combined with garlic and chilli. In this recipe, I use ginger three ways: the fish is marinated in ginger juice and turmeric; topped with crispy-fried ginger slivers; and bathed in a fragrant, sweetly spicy broth.

I like to serve a small bowl of steamed basmati rice on the side, both for soaking up the delicious juices and to soften all the strong flavours in this dish.

The steamed fish then sits atop a mound of green vegetables, stir-fried with sesame oil and plenty of garlic and chilli. Winter colds begone!

Gingery steamed sea bass with crispy ginger and a fragrant, spicy broth

Ingredients (serves 1)

For the fish…

1 fillet of sea bass, c. 200g
1/3 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp fish sauce
1 rounded tsp finely grated ginger
A bamboo steamer

For the crispy ginger…

Large knob of ginger, peeled and coarsely grated
Flavourless cooking oil, such as sunflower, vegetable or groundnut oil
Sea salt

For the ginger broth…

A large mugful of water
A knob of fresh galangal (or ginger root), sliced
1 lemongrass stalk, bruised
1 garlic clove and 1 whole red chilli, lightly bruised
Large strips of lime zest
1 star anise
1tsp coriander seeds
1tsp vegetable bouillon powder
Fish sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice to season


• Place all the ingredients for the broth (apart from seasonings) in a saucepan and bring to a steady simmer. Cover with a lid and leave ticking over while you cook.

• Make sure the fish is clean and completely dry. Gently slash the skin 3 or 4 times. Squeeze the ginger pulp into a small bowl with the fish sauce and turmeric. Rub this into the fish and set aside to marinate.

• Pour about an inch of cooking oil into a small pan, and place on a high heat.

• Drop in a piece of ginger to check it’s sizzling hot, then carefully add the rest of the grated ginger. Fry for around a minute, or until just golden. Transfer to kitchen paper to drain, and sprinkle with salt.

• Strain the broth and return to the pan. Have a taste: add fish and/or soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice and sugar to balance salty, sweet, sour and spicy notes. It should be fairly light, so add more hot water if too strong. Decant into a small jug.

• Place the sea bass on foil in the bamboo steamer and set over a pan of simmering water. Cover and steam for 5 minutes, or until just cooked, while you stir-fry your greens.

• To serve, place the fish on top of your greens and/or rice, and top with the crispy ginger. Carefully pour the hot broth around the edge to form a shallow puddle.

If you like, scatter over chopped chilli and fresh herbs, and serve with lime cheeks.