Soft, flaky sea bass, drizzled in a sweet, spicy sauce and baked in the oven. Super quick and easy - ready in 12 minutes!
Just look at that soft and flaky fall-apart fish.
Who needs a plate? I could just eat this straight off the baking tray!!
I've got a bit of a thing for sticky glazes lately. I swear that if I came back in another life as an insect, i'd be one of those annoying wasps that hangs around the sticky puddle of ice cream on the floor.
No idea where that came from. Sorry, the sugar must be going to my brain.
Now Sea Bass.
I love this stuff. Soft and delicate, yet totally versatile. It tastes amazing with a simple drizzle of browned butter, but it can also take slap-you-in-the-face flavours too.
I'd been cooking this pretty often since I went on my knife skills course at Leiths School of Food & Wine a few years back. We gutted and filleted one, then cooked it en-papillote with a mountain of chilli and coriander for lunch.
Oh man it was good. And it inspired me to come up with this simple dish!
What do we need?
How do we make it?
- Mix sesame oil, chilli, honey, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and lime in a small bowl.
Place the sea bass fillets, skin-side down, on a baking tray. Sprinkle on a little cornflour (cornstarch if you're in the US) and rub it into the fish gently.
Pour over the honey-soy sauce mixture and top with a sprinkle of brown sugar, then place in the oven to cook for 8 minutes, basting half-way through cooking.
Once cooked, baste again then sprinkle coriander, spring onions (scallions) and slices of chilli and serve with lime slices and some boiled rice or salad.
You'll see that most of the sauce runs off and pools around the fish when it's first poured on, but that's ok. It'll get thicker and stickier once it's been in the oven and is starting to cool a little. Just pour that sauce from the tray back over the sea bass when you serve it up.
Other topping ideas:
Crispy fried strips of ginger, crispy fried onions (you can buy these ready made from larger stores), chilli flakes, sesame seeds or thinly sliced red onion would all make great alternatives or additional toppings.
Can I fry it instead?
Yes. Slash the skin of the sea bass two or three times, width-ways to help prevent the fish from curling when frying, then dust the fish with the cornflour (cornstarch).
Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the fish over a medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes, skin-side-down first, until the skin is crisp. Then turn over and cook for 1 minute.
Transfer to a warm plate. Add all of the sauce ingredients to the pan and bubble together for a couple of minutes. Then pour over the sea bass and top with the same toppings.
Got a craving for fish? How about these seafood recipes:
- Thai Fishcakes with Vegetable Ribbons
- Crispy Fish Tacos with Pico de Gallo
- Seafood Laksa in a spicy slurpy sauce
- Creamy Tuna Pasta Bake - a family favourite!
- Crispy Fish Burgers with Shoestring Fries
12 minute Sticky Asian Sea Bass
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 red chilli - finely chopped
- 4 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce - replace with tamari for gluten-free
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 2 cloves of garlic - peeled and minced
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice - (the juice from half a small lime)
- 4 sea bass fillets - skin on
- ½ tsp cornflour/cornstarch
- 2 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 handful of fresh coriander (cilantro) - torn
- 1 bunch of spring onions (scallions) - sliced into thin strips
- 1 red chilli - sliced thinly
- slices of lime
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F (fan).
- Mix the oil, chilli, honey, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and lime in a small bowl.2 tbsp sesame oil, 1 red chilli, 4 tbsp honey, 2 tbsp dark soy sauce, ½ tsp ground ginger, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- Place the sea bass fillets, skin-side down, on a baking tray. Sprinkle on the cornflour and rub it into the fish gently.4 sea bass fillets, ½ tsp cornflour/cornstarch
- Spoon on the honey-soy sauce mix (it will pour off a little, but that's fine). Sprinkle on the sugar and place in the oven to cook for 8 minutes. Halfway through cooking, open the oven and baste the fish with the sauce in the tray (it will be stickier now it's been in the oven).2 tbsp light brown sugar
- Once the fish is cooked, take it out of the oven and baste again with sauce, then sprinkle the top with coriander (cilantro), spring onion (scallion) strips, and slices of chilli.1 handful of fresh coriander (cilantro), 1 bunch of spring onions (scallions), 1 red chilli
- Serve with lime slices and some boiled rice or salad.slices of lime
Skin on or skinless fillets?Go for skin on fillets (boneless). The skin will help the flesh of the fish hold together better, and will ensure the fish is more tender.
Can I cook the sea bass in advance?No, this really needs to be cooked right before serving, otherwise the fish will be chewy instead of tender and flaky
You can mix together the sauce ingredients beforehand (cover and leave at room temperature for up to a day) to speed things up even further when you make it.
Can I make it gluten free?Yes, swap out the soy sauce for tamari and you're good to go. Nutritional information is per portion.
This post was first published in March 2015. Updated in February 2020 with new photos, video and tips.
Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.