There are many aspects to this recipe that I love. But a few that were not the best and if we were to ever make it again there would be a few changes. In this blog, I am going to share this recipe from Milk Street, one that we picked from the recipe book given to Tyler as a gift. Ginger-Scallion Steamed Cod had a great flavor and was a tender fish when done.
Published November 9, 2021
Updated March 24, 2022
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Why this recipe works
Milk Street continues to develop recipes that find innovative ways to enhance the flavors of food. Additionally, they source recipes from all over the world that help to showcase cultures and people creating recipes that are simply delicious. For example, this recipe uses cabbage leaves to cover the cod fillets while they steam helps to keep the fish moist by mimicking the skin of fish.
By using thinly sliced cabbage tossed with the ginger dressing, it adds a fantastic flavor and marries well with the taste of the cod. One step I would have wanted to change would be to lightly fry the cabbage for a few minutes before letting it rest in the dressing as it was still raw, and our kids did not enjoy the taste. The cabbage was meant to be a salad; however, the thinly sliced cabbage would have been, in my opinion, much tastier cooked.
**Milk Street is not a sponsor of this post**
What I would change
Instead of using serrano chilis, I replaced it with a yellow pepper as I knew that our kids actually would not eat the spicy pepper. We often do not make our kids eat something spicy if they do not want to, which is why the serrano chili pieces were omitted, but we do have them eat the food that is made. Monica’s Scratch Kitchen is not a made-to-order restaurant. If we were to ever make this again, I would for sure try to make it with the serrano chili to see if it adds and enhances the flavor for the better.
The second thing I altered was to completely omit the freshly chopped cilantro. Tyler and I both absolutely despise fresh cilantro. We fall into the category of the four-to-fourteen percent of the population who loathe the herb. If you want to learn more about the science and genetics behind cilantro, check out this site on how Cilantro Tastes Like Soap.
Ginger-Scallion Steamed Cod Recipe
3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp ginger
6 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp oil
6 large cabbage leaves
2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
1 tsp ground white pepper
Four 6-ounce skinless cod fillets
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp white sugar
1 serrano chili
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1. On a cutting board, chop the cilantro, if using, and set aside.
I am one of those crazy people who actually dislike cilantro. It tastes like soap to me. Do you love cilantro? Let me know!
2. On a cutting board, slice 3 scallions on a cutting board and then set aside in a bowl. Slice 3 scallions at a thin diagonal, place in a bowl and then set these aside apart from the first bowl.
3. Use a vegetable peeler and peel the skin off the ginger, then using a grater, finely grate the ginger into a bowl, then set aside.
This was the first time I used fresh ginger in a recipe, and let me tell you, freshly grated ginger sure packs a punch! Our boys said it was spicy to them, and we could see how they would think that. They were troopers trying this meal for the first time!
4. Remove 6 whole cabbage leaves and then set aside for later. Thinly slice the rest of the cabbage on a cutting board and set in a bowl.
5. In a bowl, stir together chopped cilantro (if using), minced scallions, grated ginger, 2 Tbsp soy sauce and 1 Tbsp oil as this forms the flavor base for the Ginger-scallion steamed cod to rest in before it is cooked. I used a baking pan as the recipe was doubled and I thought using this pan would be better than a bowl.
6. Add the cod fillets to the mixture, coat well, and then let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature. Using fresh cod fillets is recommended as it will not infuse flavors with frozen fish, however if you buy frozen, make sure to rest it at least 24-hours in your fridge before cooking so they can thaw.
7. Place a steamer basket into a large pot and add enough water to the pot without reaching the basket, then remove the basket and place onto a cutting board.
Cover the pot and turn the temperature to medium-high. Onto the steamer basket and, place 4 cabbage leaves while flat.
Lay all of the ginger-scallion seasoned cod fillets onto the cabbage leaves, covering the cod with the remaining 2 cabbage leaves.
8. When the water is boiling, remove the pot from the heat and carefully replace the steamer basket with cod and cabbage into the pot. Cover and let steam for 8-12 minutes. Make sure you do this with the pot OFF the heat! Be safe, as the steam can cause you to burn.
Removing it from the heat allows the steam to lessen and you to be able to place the steamer basket into the pot. For example, I used a 6-Quart pot with a metal steamer basket for this meal.
8. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 4 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp rice vinegar, 2 tsp sugar, Salt and pepper, then mix well. This will serve as the seasoning for the cabbage.
9. Transfer 3 Tbsp of the dressing to the bowl with the sliced cabbage and then toss to coat all of the cabbage. Then arrange the cabbage shreds onto a serving platter making sure to reserve the remaining dressing. This is where I diced the yellow pepper and added it to the cabbage resting in the sauce.
One step I would have changed here would be to fry the cabbage until tender. The raw cabbage with the flaky cooked fish was not my favorite. The flavor was absolutely amazing but cooking the cabbage even for a few minutes would have been to my liking.
10. When the fish is ready, remove the cover and cabbage leaves covering the fish and gently remove the fish to a serving platter, laying it on top of the cabbage shreds. Then sprinkle the fish with the sliced scallions and thinly sliced serrano chili if using.
11. In a small bowl, warm the 2 Tbsp oil until just before smoking. Carefully pour the oil over the fillets, as it will sizzle and be sure to watch the oil while it is warming as it does heat up quickly!
12. Sprinkle with the cilantro leaves (if using) and then serve with reserved dressing over the fish.
End result and taste
One thing I would do differently would be to cook the cabbage. The end result of the ginger-scallion steamed cod was delicious and the fish was moist and flavorful. However, the cabbage was less than desirable still being raw.
If we were to ever make this recipe again, I would sauté the sliced cabbage before nestling the cod fillets in after they are steamed. The raw cabbage was too crunchy and none of our four kids wanted to eat it, had it been cooked, maybe they would have eaten some of it.
Additionally, the ginger sauce was so delicious and paired perfect with the steamed cod. Steaming the cod within the cabbage leaves caused the fish to maintain its tenderness while not over-cooking it.
Recipe for Ginger-Scallion Steamed Cod
Ginger-Scallion Steamed Cod Recipe
- Cutting board
- Vegetable peeler
- Medium Bowl
- Steamer Basket
- Small Bowl
- 3 Tbsp Cilantro chopped, optional
- 6 Scallions
- 2 Tbsp Ginger grated
- 6 Tbsp Soy Sauce
- 3 Tbsp Oil
- 6 Cabbage Leaves large
- 2 cups Green Cabbage thinly sliced
- 1 tsp Ground White Pepper
- 4 6-oz Cod Filets
- 2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
- 2 tsp White Sugar
- 1 Serrano Chili
- 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
- Chop cilantro, if using, and then set aside.
- Mince 3 scallions and set aside and also slice 3 scallions at a thin diagonal and set aside.
- Use a vegetable peeler and peel the skin off the ginger, then using a grater, finely grate the ginger into a bowl, then set aside.
- Remove 6 whole cabbage leaves and set aside and then thinly slice the rest of the cabbage and set in a bowl.
- In a bowl, stir together chopped cilantro if using, minced scallions, ginger, 2 Tbsp soy sauce and 1 Tbsp oil.
- Then add the cod fillets to the mixture, coat well, and let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature.
- Place a steamer basket into a large pot and add enough water to the pot without reaching the basket, then cover the pot and turn the heat to medium-high.
- Remove the basket and place 4 cabbage leaves onto the steamer basket while flat, covering the cod with the remaining 2 cabbage leaves.
- When the water is boiling, remove the pot from the heat and replace the steamer basket with cod and cabbage into the pot, then cover and let steam for 8-12 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 4 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp rice vinegar, 2 tsp sugar, salt and pepper, making sure to mix this sauce well as it will be then used to season the cabbage.
- Transfer 3 Tbsp to the bowl with the sliced cabbage and toss.
- Next, arrange the cabbage shreds onto a serving platter while reserving the remaining dressing for topping the cooked cod.
- When the ginger-scallion cod is ready, remove the cover and cabbage leaves covering the fish, and placing the fish to a serving platter, laying it on top of the prepared cabbage shreds.
- Sprinkle the fish with the sliced scallions and serrano if using.
- In a small bowl, warm the 2 Tbsp oil until just before smoking and carefully pour the oil over the fillets, as it will sizzle.
- Finally, sprinkle with the cilantro leaves and serve with reserved dressing over the fish.
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