Black Cod with Tamarind and Ginger

By Friday most weeks I have a pretty good idea what to cook for dinner on Sunday but last week was different. I thought I’d do vegetarian but was totally uninspired with my choices so off to the mall I went to see what got my attention. At one of our seafood shops there was a special on Alaska Black Cod and I decided this was going to be the centre of our menu. This incredibly flavorful fish is also referred to as Sable Fish or “Butterfish”. It is widely known as an excellent fish for gourmet entrees and well received when smoked. It’s name, Sablefish, is thought to be derived from the fact that it has a very soft, delicate texture. It is considered a delicacy by most seafood connoisseurs for it’s beautiful snow-white fillets, rich succulent flavor, and velvety texture. If prepared correctly…it will literally melt in your mouth!

Our guests arrived early yesterday (Mom and my niece Gillian) because we decided it was time to decorate our Christmas tree. We put on some Christmas music, poured our selves some hot eggnog and got to work decorating our tree. This time of year is wonderful because it reminds me of how special family really is.    Almost every decoration has a story and we reminisce about where we were and when we bought each one as we place them on the tree.  Our tree has no theme or design element to it, just a lot of wonderful memories we think about every year at this time.   We took our time putting each item on the tree and when it was done it was time to get started with dinner.

This year we added two camels from our Christmas we spent in Dubai last year. If you are interested, I wrote a blog about that trip. You can view it at:

Camels from Dubai

The first dish on the menu was a simple herb salad with cherry tomatoes and a handful of hand peeled shrimp put neatly on a plate. The dressing was a simple combination of 1/4 cup of mayonnaise and 2 tablespoons of raspberry vinegar. It was a lovely way to start the meal.

cherry tomatos and shrimp salad.smaller

The menu included steamed bok choy, coconut and lime kaffir leaf rice, a selection of roasted mushrooms, steamed broccoli and a succulent piece of sablefish drenched in a tamarind ginger sauce. Earlier in the day I had roasted a selection of mushrooms that included shiitake, oyster and baby portobello. They were tossed in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkled with a pinch of salt and pepper and placed in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. The rice was cooked in coconut milk with two kaffir lime leaves chopped up and the broccoli and bok choy were simply steamed.

full view black cod with tamarind and ginger

Here’s the recipe for the Tamarind Ginger Cod:

  • 1 (2-1/2 lb.) whole fish or single piece cod, bass or red snapper
  • 6 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 6 green onions, thickly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp. grated ginger root
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. crushed palm sugar
  • 1 tsp. tamarind sauce mixed with 1 Tbsp. water
  • 2 Tbsp sake
  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. Heat 2 Tbsp. coconut oil in a wok or heavy based frying pan over medium heat and stir in onion and cook, stirring occasionally until brown.  Once browned, place on a paper towel and let sit until ready to use.
  2. Over medium heat, heat the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil in a wok or the same pan you cooked the onions in.  Add fish and fry for about 5 minutes on each side, until browned and flesh is opaque when tested with a knife.  When fish is done,  take it out of the pan and drain on paper towels.  Keep fish warm while preparing the sauce.
  3. Stir into wok the green onions, garlic and ginger root.  Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, then stir in fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar,  tamarind water, and sake.  Cook 1 minute, and  season with pepper.
  4. When ready to serve, place steamed bok choy in the centre of the plate and place fish on top.  Pour sauce over the fish, Sprinkle with browned onions and garnish with cilantro sprigs.

I’m certainly not an expert with plating but I try very hard to make it look nice.  I know there are people who make a living creating beautiful plates of food.

By eating one or two servings of fish each week, you’ll be sure to keep those omega 3’s at a good level and your body and health will thank you for it.  Sablefish is a good choice for people on a low cholesterol diet.  According to Dr. Andrew Weil, oily fleshed, cold water fish such as wild Alaskan salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring and black cod are the best sources of fish oil.

For more information on fish oils and other health benefits please visit Dr. Wiel’s website:

Dessert was made up of a wonderful seletion of cookies that Gillian aquired on Friday night at a cookie exchange.  There was such a selection it was very hard to choose.  They were all delicious and the best part is the remaining cookies were left at our house so we will actually be able to taste each and every one of them.

Gillian's cookie exchange small

Which one would you choose??

Once we finished dinner, we were entertained by Gillian’s photos of an amazing trip she took to Peru this fall with her mother.   The photos were fabulous and it was a great finnish to a wonderful Sunday night dinner at Julia’s place.

Please come back next week as we continue the series of Sunday night dinner at Julia’s place!


About Julia

I am an RHN who's passionate about helping people live their best lives. My focus is on body mind and spirit and I guide people on work life balance and holistic nutrition. Join me as I wind my way through this wonderful world we live in.
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