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Cod with Ginger-Basil Butter on Fragrant Rice

by in Jan 2013
Cod with Ginger-Basil Butter on Fragrant Rice
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Total Time: 40

Yield: 6 servings

This is the ultimate winter warmer, a fragrant dish of cod served over rice seasoned with cumin and turmeric. Served with a butter sauce made with ginger, basil, and star anise, it's a heady combination. But the flavor of the fish still shines through.

Note: There's a lot of confusion about cod stocks and whether cod is an eco-friendly option right now. Cape Ann Fresh Catch buys cod only from boats working within NOAA guidelines. If sustainable cod isn't available, substitute another firm, white fish.

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Cod with Ginger-Basil Butter on Fragrant Rice
Photo/Art by Michael Piazza

For the rice:


  • 1-1/4 cups jasmine or basmati rice
  • 2-1/2 cups water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt


Put rice into a 3- to 4-quart pot with water, cinnamon, cumin seeds, turmeric, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat; then reduce heat to low and simmer until all the water has been absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let rice sit, covered, 5 more minutes.

For the fish:


  • 2 pounds cod fillets, cut into 6 equal portions (see "Note")
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, divided
  • 12 slices unpeeled fresh ginger
  • 4 fresh basil stems (with leaves), each cut into 3 pieces
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter
  • 6 whole star anise
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, and minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 serrano chile, halved and thinly sliced (for less heat, remove seeds)
  • 10 large fresh basil leaves, chopped


Meanwhile, set out 6 square pieces of aluminum foil, each about 12 inches wide. Lay a piece of fish on each one. Sprinkle with a bit of salt. To each packet add 2 slices ginger and 2 pieces basil stems. Seal each packet.
Bring about 1 inch of water to a boil in a large pot fitted with a steamer. Add fish packets to steamer, reduce heat to a simmer, and steam until fish is opaque, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, in a small pot, melt butter until it sizzles. Add star anise, ginger, cumin, sugar, chile, and basil. Simmer 3 minutes.
Divide rice among bowls. Top with fish; then spoon butter sauce over fish.
Updated Monday, December 3rd, 2012

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