Saint-Pierre (John Dory) in Galanga dashi

This is a dish that’s heavily inspired from an appetizer I found in a French magazine (Elle magazine), I must admit. But it made me imagine a full main that I wanted to cook right away.

Thaï cooking, with its procession of fresh, peppery, lemony herbs and roots, can bring life to any broth. When you pick a broth that already has lots of depth -hello, Dashi friend-, you’re in for a beautiful ride.

See for yourself the colours and the beautiful simplicity of this dish : thinly sliced fish, turnip petals ; a clear, flavourful broth ; and a variety of zingy herbs. Lots of flavour, but all very delicate.

Add a bit of rice and steamed sweet potatoes -that you can simultaneously cook in your rice cooker, or in a pot ; you have yourself a truly satisfying meal, that also happens to be healthy. What’s not to love ?

Saint-Pierre (John Dory) in Galanga dashi – Recipe

Ingredients – Advice & where to find them

  • I recommend you to go to a well-stocked Asian store, in order to find kombu and katsuoboshi, and more particularly galanga, which can sometimes be tricky to find ! I was able to find some frozen, pre-sliced one. You can also get it fresh from some Asian stores, too (it looks like ginger, but is more delicate and lemony in taste).
    • If you’re in Paris :
      • you can go to Tang Frères in the 13th (they have other stores in Paris but be careful, some are small, this one is large) or Paris Store in the 10th ;
      • ever since I moved to the 18th, I’ve been going to XP 16 or Chen Market, but those shops are slightly smaller, especially XP16, and you might not find everything you need. 
    • If you’re in France :
    • For my foreign friends : I bet you can easily find some Asian shops around you or online, but if you can’t, message me with your location and I will try to find it for you !
  • On another note, feel free to replace the Saint-Pierre (which is really quite expensive : I personnally paid around 40€ for 300 grams of fillet, which translates to 1kg of fish) with sea bass (still costly but far less, at least where I live), or even cod ; really, any white-fleshed fish will do. Please choose a fresh one though, since the fish is only cooked through the hot dashi.
  • If you have doubts regardings which herbs to use, I’d say my absolute favourite here is Thaï basil, whose flavour pairs so well with the lemony galanga. Thaï basil and cilantro would suffice here for me, the rest is optional. But feel free to experiment with other herbs !
  • The key here to only spend 40 minutes cooking is to prep other things during the resting or cooking times. For example, make sure to launch your rice and sweet potatoes, if using, before you start your dashi. Also, use the 15 minutes dashi resting time to cut your fish fillets in thin slices.

Off to your kitchen now !

Saint-Pierre (John Dory) in Galanga dashi

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 15 min Cook Time 25 min Total Time 40 mins
Servings: 2
Best Season: Winter


A light and lemony, Japanese-based broth, with a few thaï additions ; thinly-sliced, barely cooked white-fleshed fish ; a few turnip petals and fresh herbs. That's a beautiful dish !   


For the Galanga Dashi

As a side


  1. Prep your ingredients

    Quickly blanch the turnips for 3 mins in boiling salted water. Drain and leave to cool.

    Chop the herbs if necessary (if using Thaï cilantro or scallions), the bird's eye chili and galanga if using fresh (I used frozen, pre-sliced galanga).

    Cut the turnips into very thin strips.

  2. Dashi time !

    If opting for the rice and sweet potato side dish, now is the time to launch your rice cooker. Put your sweet potato in the steam basket and allow it to cook with your rice simultaneously.

    Pour 1l of fresh water in a small to medium pot.

    Cut several times, with scissors, your dried kelp (kombu) to release more flavor. Add it to the pan.

    Almost bring it to a boil on a low to medium heat, which should last around 10 minutes.

    Remove the dried kelp when the dashi is about to start boiling.

    Add your dried bonito flakes, and bring it back to a boil again.

    Turn the heat off. Add your soy sauce, your mirin and your bird’s eye chili.

    5 minutes later, add your galanga. Let it infuse 10 more minutes.

    Strain the broth. Set aside.

  3. Prep your bowls and assemble

    Cut your fish in thin slices. Put it in soup plates.

    Pour over the hot broth. Add your turnip slices, your herbs, and some more bird’s eye chili if you wish.

    Serve your rice and sweet potato side (don't forget to salt your sweet potatoes), or with rice only.

    Et voilà ! You're done !!

    Make sure to salt your boiling water appropriately, but not too much, since the broth is quite salty (5g/liter).
Keywords: home made, fish in broth, dashi, galanga dashi, saint-pierre, John Dory, thaï basil, cilantro, thaï cilantro

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