Black Bean and Lemongrass Cod a la Hong Kong

Black Bean and Lemongrass Cod a la Hong Kong Recipe

I love seafood. I don't cook a lot of fish at home because of all the complaints from the vegetarians in the house but I couldn't resist: there was some very fresh lingcod at the market today.

Preparing black bean and lemongrass lingcod à la Hong Kong is easier than it seems; I simply marinated the fish with some lemongrass from the garden, some fresh ginger and black bean sauce. I then wrapped the whole fish en papillote, which means that I created a steam chamber out of aluminum foil for the fish. When it was ready, I served it with some steamed jasmin rice. The fish would also go well with red rice and mixed vegetables, if you're more health conscious. 


Yields: 4

1 whole lingcod (or any other kind of cod), about 2 pounds, see tips
1/2 serrano green chile pepper, chopped
3 stalks fresh lemongrass, cut in half, lengthwise
1 lime
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1-1/2 tablespoons ginger, cut into matchsticks
1 cup water
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon black bean sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, (about a cup)
1/2 onion, sliced into thin wedges
1 (2-ounce) package dried rice thin vermicelli noodles


For the vermicelli rice noodles: Place the whole package of dried rice vermicelli noodles in a bowl. Don't forget to cut the little threads  and discard them! Soak the noodles in cold water for 20 minutes, then drain. Chop into 2-inch threads. Set aside.

For the lemongrass: Wash the lemongrass. Remove all the white powder off of the leaves. Cut 2 stalks in half and crush them with the back of a chef's knife. Cut the remaining stalk into extremely thin slices using a chef's knife. In a mortar and pestle, grind the thin slices of lemongrass, then transfer and mix everything using a mini food processor. It should turn into a fine moist powder. Set aside.

For the black bean and lemongrass marinade: In a bowl, combine the lime zest, lime juice with pulp, ginger, brown sugar, serrano chile pepper, black bean sauce, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of lemongrass powder and garlic.

Marinating the lingcod: Make 4-5 deep parallel incisions into the flesh of the fish using a sharp knife. Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides. Place into a zip-top bag. Drizzle the marinade over the lingcod. Place in the refrigerator. Marinate for at least an hour. 

Preheat the oven to 500°F.

Cooking the fish: Wrap the fish papillote-style: Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil. Place the lingcod and its marinade onto the pan. Garnish with vermicelli noodles on the side, the crushed stalks of lemongrass , half the amount of flat-leaf parsley and the onion wedges. Add a cup of water. Cover with another aluminum sheet. Seal the sides by twisting both aluminum sheet together. Place the fish in the oven and cook for about 20 minutes. Do NOT overcok. Remove the pan from the oven. Transfer the fish onto a platter. Let the fish rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Remove the aluminum sheet. Garnish with the remaining flat-leaf parsley.

Serve with some rice.

Eat with chopsticks and enjoy!


You can use any other kind of cod or white, firm, strong flavored fish if you don't have lingcod.

When buying the fish, ask your fishmonger to gut and scale it for you. Also ask him to remove the head and tail.

Lemongrass is quite expensive in stores and it sold by bulk of 5 stalks. It's a perennial. I asked Lulu about it and he started to grow 4 "bushes" last year and we keep getting some, which is very convenient. The lemongrass stalk has to be finely chopped then ground in the mini food processor. If not, the dish will be ruined and willl have the texture of fingernails... not so phamfatale-ish! I use the remaining lemongrass powder for making my lemongrass tofu recipe.

Soy sauce brings saltiness to the dish and a nice amber brown color. My favorite soy sauce is Da Bo De brand. It has a very nice flavor and is not too salty. You can find this particular sauce in downtown San Jose, like at Dai Thanh Asian market on 420 S 2nd St, in San Jose. Well, it's not the prettiest, but it has all the fresh Vietnamese produce at a very reasonable price. This is one of the best "ethnic" grocery store in the area.

I use store-bought Lee Kum Kee brand black bean garlic sauce. You can find it in any Asian stores. I think Safeway also carries this brand.

I wrapped the fish papillote-style. The exact term used is called "en papillote". The material used in general is parchment paper but I used aluminum foil. Make sure to use heavy duty aluminum foil to prevent the aluminum sheet from tearing too easily.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on August 18, 2009.


[-] Crazy Asian Gal - Guest-Palidor
How could anybody NOT love that fish?? Black bean sauce is one of my favorites to use with fish. I sometimes cook whole flounder that way.

Palidor Website Link
[ Posted at 4:03 AM on 8/18/09 | Reply ]
[-] Julia @ Mélanger - Guest-JuliaMlanger
Wow, this looks fantastic. My partner loves cooking food like this. I will have to show him! :)

Julia @ Mélanger Website Link
[ Posted at 4:35 AM on 8/18/09 | Reply ]
[-] Foodie with Little Thyme! - Guest-cassie
Looks great! I like the lemongrass.

cassie Website Link
[ Posted at 5:22 AM on 8/18/09 | Reply ]
[-] yum - Guest-OysterCulture
All I can say is yum, I love fish fixed like this - it looks amazing

OysterCulture Website Link
[ Posted at 6:00 AM on 8/18/09 | Reply ]
[-] Black Bean, Ginger and Lemongrass Cod - Guest-Jenofa2eatwrite
I love fish preparations like this. All my favorite flavors. We have a staycation coming up next week - I think I may try this then.

Jen of a2eatwrite Website Link
[ Posted at 8:18 AM on 8/18/09 | Reply ]
[-] Black beans - Guest-Emily361
Thanks for your comment over at Darby O'Shea! It's so nice to have readers in different places! Love this recipe for fish - will have to try it very soon! I also admire the effort involved in blogging in a foreign language - you handle it very well!

Emily Website Link
[ Posted at 12:23 PM on 8/18/09 | Reply ]
[-] now lemongrass? - Guest-JessicaFoodmayhem
You have that in your garden too? I need to move to CA.

Jessica@Foodmayhem Website Link
[ Posted at 12:28 PM on 8/18/09 | Reply ]
[-] lol - Jackie
Your comment is so cute.

It's pretty easy to plant lemongrass. All you need is to keep watering it very often.
[ Posted at 1:02 PM on 8/18/09 | Reply ]
[-] Lazy Mum Yummy Bites - Guest-JeanHwang
Hi Jackie...I like this simple recipe, guess the lemon grass will do wonders to the fish...nice and refreshing aroma..cheers

Jean Hwang Website Link
[ Posted at 6:46 PM on 8/18/09 | Reply ]
[-] ginger - Guest-jimter
i realy love the way u cook...
[ Posted at 1:19 AM on 11/2/10 | Reply ]

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