Uyen Luu’s sea bass parcels with ginger and kimchi

I love opening this at the table when you have a guest or two and hearing the ooohs and ahhhs as though a gift is being unwrapped. For dinner parties, wrap more parcels and bake together, increasing the cooking time.

sea bass
Uyen Luu


1⁄2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 x 800g sea bass or 2 x 400g sea bass, cleaned, gutted, scaled, head on
40g ginger root, julienned
2 tbsp kimchi, sliced 1cm thick
1 lemon, sliced into rings
2 red onions, quartered
2 stems of cherry tomatoes on the vine
80ml coconut water, fish or chicken stock
1⁄2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp vegetable oil
2 spring onions, white and green parts, sliced 1cm thick
4-5 tbsp soy sauce, depending on the size of the fish
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp chilli sauce

1 spring onion, thinly sliced lengthways, soaked in cold water until curled
1 red chilli, sliced diagonally 5mm thick

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas 4. Place a large sheet of parchment paper large enough to wrap a fish on a baking dish. Drizzle the vegetable oil on the surface of the paper, place the fish on it. Stuff the neck with the ginger and the body with the kimchi.
  2. Place the lemon rings on the skin and scatter onion quarters and cherry tomatoes around the fish. Pour over the coconut water or stock. Drizzle the sesame oil over the fish then wrap en papillotte style (sealing any openings) and bake for 35 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and fry the spring onion for about a minute. Add the soy sauce, cider vinegar, sugar and chilli sauce, mixing well, and bring to a gentle boil.
  4. Once the fish is cooked, I take it to the table to unwrap and pour the hot dressing over, then garnish with the spring onion and chilli. Serve with steamed rice and plenty of greens.

TIP If you don’t have kimchi, leave it out.

simple Vietnamese food to cook at homeThe recipes and infusions are from Vietnamese: Simple Vietnamese Food to Cook at Home by Uyen Luu, published by Hardie Grant, price £22. To order a copy for £18.70 until 9 August, go to or call 020 3308 9193. Free UK delivery on orders over £20.