Recipe: Poached Seabass with Tomato and Mushroom from COMO Shambhala

Bali’s deeply-rooted wellness retreat COMO Shambhala Estate owes much of its worldly repute to its dedicated culinary program. Clean, fresh and healthy eating is but one aspect of the holistic, 360-approach to immersive wellness here, so if a recipe comes from the property’s Head Chef, you can be sure its well worth your time.

Fans of the retreat the world over swear by COMO’s cookbook The Pleasures of Eating Well, so we’ve gone and sourced one of the recipes for your to master at home.

Poached Seabass with Tomato and Mushroom

Serves: 4


Poached Sea Bass

  • 4 pieces black sea bass fillet, or wild barramundi (each 140g), skin on.
  • 900 (3 3/4 cups) Thai fish stock
  • 8 small kaffir lime leaves, very thinly sliced
  • 4 Chinese cabbage leaves
  • 2 small shallots, halved and cut into 5mm or quarter-inch wedges
  • 2 small hot red chillies, bruised and stem removed
  • 4 stalks lemongrass, tops and outer layers removed, finely sliced
  • 2 pieces galangal (each 8cm or 3-inches), peeled and finely sliced
  • 8 large shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

Thai Fish Stock

  • 1.2kg white fish bones, washed and cleaned
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, bruised
  • 3 coriander roots, cleaned, scraped and bruised (or 6 stems)
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, bruised
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, bruised
  • 4 small red chillies, bruised
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt

To Serve

  • 4g (1/4 cup) coriander leaves
  • 2 stems pak chi farang (long leaf coriander), thinly sliced
  • 1 long red chilli, split lengthwise, seeded and cut julienne
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, very thinly sliced
  • 300g (2 cups) cooked brown jasmine rice


Fish Stock

  1. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan, add 3 litres (12 cups) water and the sea salt.
  2. Cover with a lid and bring to boil, removing any scum from the suface.
  3. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes, skimming as required, then strain through a fine sieve into a bowl.
  4. When the liquid is cool, refrigerate or freeze. The stock keep well in the freezer, just add more aromatic herbs such as lemongrass and kaffir lime before serving.

Main Dish

  1. For the steamed sea bass, fill a double-tiered steamer pot with water and bring to boil over a medium heat.
  2. Place the fish pieces in a shallow bowl that fits the steamer basket.
  3. Cover fish with Thai fish stock (about 1 cup or 250ml) and a pinch of sliced kaffir lime leaves.
  4. Place the cabbage leaves on a steamer shelf on a shallow plate, then place the plate of fish on the other steamer shelf.
  5. Cover with the lid and steam for 7-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of fish pieces.
  6. To serve, place the remaining Thai fish stock in a saucepan, add the shallots, chillies, lemongrass, galangal and remaining sliced kaffir lime leaves.
  7. Bring to boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and add the mushrooms.
  8. Season the broth with fish sauce then add the cherry tomatoes and simmer for a further 2 minutes.
  9. Remove the heat and season to taste with lime juice.
  10. Rolling the cabbage leaves to form long cylinders, use these to form a base in the bottom of each bowl, then top with a piece of poached fish.
  11. Ladle the broth and its vegetables into the bowls, scatter with coriander leaves, pak chi farang, chilli and sliced lime leaves.
  12. Serve immediately, with brown jasmine rice.

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.