Vietnamese Turmeric White Fish with Cucumber Salad
January 24, 2020
By Elizabeth Palmer Califano

This Vietnamese inspired dish combines punchy flavors with ground turmeric, which acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory in the body. Garlic, ginger, and chili also help to reduce oxidative stress on the body and aid the immune system, making this dish an excellent addition to your dinner rotation for cold and flu season.

Cucumbers offer hydration due to their high water content, and also help lower blood sugar. Fish provides a lean source of satiating protein, but if you’re not a fan you can swap in chicken with the recipe notes below.


Serves 2

Total Time: 30 minutes


Fish Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • Zest from 1 lime (save the juice for the cucumber salad)
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • ½ tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
  • 1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 additional garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces white fish (try cod, halibut, hake, or whatever looks freshest), cut into two skinless fillets
  • Neutral cooking oil (like grapeseed oil) for cooking


Cucumber Salad Ingredients:

  • 2 thin-skinned (Persian or English seedless) cucumbers, very thinly sliced on a mandolin or with a sharp knife
  • 1 small radish, very thinly sliced on a mandolin or with a sharp knife
  • ½ tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • ½ small red chili, very thinly sliced (remove seeds for a milder flavor, or omit altogether)
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Cilantro and mint, torn, to serve

Vietnamese turmeric fish with cucumber.


  1. Preheat your oven to high broil.
  2. In a medium-size bowl, combine all the fish marinade ingredients until smooth. Coat the fish in the marinade and allow to sit at room temperature until for ten minutes while you prepare the salad.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers with all the remaining salad ingredients and use your hands to combine everything thoroughly. Let sit at room temperature while you cook the fish.
  4. On a baking sheet lined with foil, lay the fish fillets with at least two inches between them. Drizzle very lightly with a few drops of oil. Toss the shallot and garlic with a few drops of oil, and spread in an even layer around the fish.
  5. Broil the fish for 6-8 minutes, checking every minute after 5 minutes, until its firm and opaque and lightly golden brown on top.
  6. Serve the fish and garlic and shallots over the cucumber salad, with a sprinkling of fresh herbs.


Recipe Notes: Serve this over brown rice or noodles for a more substantial meal. You can also use the same marinade for chicken thighs, and cook in a 400-degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Palmer Califano
Elizabeth is a graduate of Hamilton College and The French Culinary Institute, as well as an avid world traveler and dinner party hostess. For more information, visit her website: