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Ginger-Garlic Fire Cod



GingerGarlic Fire Cod on a plate with toppings to the side
Photograph by Isa Zapata, food styling by Kendra Vaculin, prop styling by Emma Ringness

Modeled after Hunan-style steamed fish, this flavor-blasted recipe substitutes the traditional duò jiāo for Calabrian chile paste, a more easily available fermented chile product. Consider this weeknight-friendly dinner an exercise in efficiency. While the rice cooks, make the cooling cucumber salad, followed by the fish and its speedy sauce. The cucumber salad can be made up to 4 hours ahead; cover and chill until it’s time to serve. The fiery sauce is equally good poured over roasted chicken thighs or smeared over steamed tofu. To switch things up a little, use halibut or sablefish (black cod) in place of the cod.

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What you’ll need

Recipe information

  • Total Time

    25 minutes

  • Yield

    4 servings


4 scallions
1 lb. Persian cucumbers (about 6), very thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt, plus more
¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. sugar
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 2" piece ginger, peeled, finely chopped
¼ cup Calabrian chile paste
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
4 5–6-oz. cod or other flaky white fish fillets
Steamed white rice (for serving)


  1. Step 1

    Remove dark green parts from 4 scallions; thinly slice and set aside for serving. Thinly slice white and pale green parts. Set aside separately.

    Step 2

    Place 1 lb. Persian cucumbers (about 6), very thinly sliced, in a medium bowl. Sprinkle in 1 Tbsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt. Massage cucumbers with your hands, gently at first, then squeezing more firmly as they expel excess liquid and become more pliable, just to soften a bit. Let sit 15 minutes. Pour off released liquid.

    Step 3

    Stir ¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar and 2 Tbsp. sugar in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Add to cucumbers and toss to coat. Season with salt if needed.

    Step 4

    Cook 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped, one 2" piece ginger, peeled, finely chopped, ¼ cup Calabrian chile paste, 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil, and reserved white and pale green scallion parts in a small skillet over medium, stirring occasionally, until scallions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, remaining 1 tsp. sugar, and ¼ cup water. Bring to a simmer; cook, swirling occasionally, until reduced by a fourth, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1 Tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar.

    Step 5

    Meanwhile, place ⅓ cup all-purpose flour in a shallow bowl. Pat four 5–6-oz. cod or other flaky white fish fillets dry with paper towels; season with salt. Working one at a time, dredge one side of fillets in flour to evenly coat, shaking off any excess. Place fish, flour side up, on a plate.

    Step 6

    Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Arrange fish, flour side down, in pan and cook, shaking pan occasionally, until golden, crisp, and opaque around the edges, 6–8 minutes. Turn over; cook just until flesh flakes easily with a fork, 1–2 minutes.

    Step 7

    Arrange fish on a platter and spoon sauce over. Top with reserved scallion greens. Serve with steamed white rice and cucumbers.

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  • Reduced the amount of Calabrian chili and used a tablespoon of sugar to balance the heat. Delicious and came together quick for a weeknight dinner

    • Leah

    • Minneapolis, MN

    • 5/30/2024

  • flavorful but found it didn’t suit the cod very well. I make a similar recipe using soft tofu—the sauce needs a base that can “absorb” it better.

    • Anonymous

    • toronto, ON

    • 6/26/2024

  • This is a crowd pleaser- I didn’t alter this at all and it was not spicy hot but rather very flavorful

    • Anonymous

    • Miami Beach

    • 6/1/2024

  • We made this as a dinner for two, with harissa subbed in for the Calabrian chile paste. It was both beautiful and delicious.

    • Sarah

    • Tyler, TX

    • 6/11/2024

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