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Turmeric Pan-Fried Sablefish

Turmeric Pan-Fried Sablefish

By Hamid Salimian,

Co-chef/co-owner, Popina Canteen Granville Island, Vancouver

SOMETIMES WHEN I GET HOME after a long day in the kitchen, I do not feel much like cooking. But if my wife and I want something light, I’ll make something really simple anyway. That’s when turmeric fried fish is one of my go to dishes. The key to the dish is that before adding the fish you have to be sure that the spice is properly toasted, but never burnt. Sometimes I serve this fish with flatbread or dill-flavoured rice, but mostly with a simple herb salad. — H.S.



  • 2 fillets sablefish (or other white fish), about 175 g (6 oz) each
  • Salt
  • 50 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, halved (skin left on)
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 2 green onions, cut into 8 cm (3”) lengths
  • ½ English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 125 ml (½ cup) Thai basil leaves, picked
  • 125 ml (½ cup) watercress leaves, picked
  • 125 ml (½ cup) mint leaves, picked
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 50 ml (¼ cup) thinly sliced white onion
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Pepper

METHODSeason fish generously with salt and set aside. Heat a skillet on medium. Add oil, stir in turmeric, and cook until the spice is fragrant and beginning to turn light brown– about 30 seconds. Add butter. When that begins to brown, add fish fillets, skin-side up, and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and chilli flakes, cook for another minute, and flip fish fillets. Cook for one minute more, then remove pan from heat, and add lemon juice and scallions. Now make the salad: combine cucumber, radish, basil, watercress, mint, tomatoes, onion, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl, and toss. Plate fish with wilted green onions and salad on the side.

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“ Sometimes I serve this fish with flatbread or dill-flavoured rice, but mostly with a simple herb salad”