Must-Try Barramundi Recipes from Around the World

Thanks to its mild flavor, buttery texture, and versatility, barramundi is a beloved ingredient around the world.

From Australia to China, Thailand to India, each culinary community has a signature barramundi dish.

Here, we explore five popular barramundi preparations from across the globe. Get ready to travel right from your kitchen, dish by dish.

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Paperbark-Wrapped Barramundi in Australia

According to the 1976 book Seafood of South-East Asia, barramundi was originally prepared by Aborigines in Australia who it wrapped it in leaves of the wild ginger plant and baked it in ashes.

Today, the more traditional Australian take on barramundi involves a similar technique: Wrap it in paperbark, a native plant that lends a smoky flavor. Add in lemon, herbs, and macadamia nuts for more flavor. Then throw it over some hot coals, or “on the barbie,” as Aussies like to say.

Try it at home with Paperbark Barramundi with Saltbush and Wild Rice.

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Spicy Steamed Barramundi in Thailand

Called Pla Kaphong Khao in Thailand, barramundi is integrated into many local dishes that utilize its versatility and delicate flavor. Andy Ricker, chef and owner of Thai restaurant Pok Pok in Portland, Oregon, serves barramundi whole, flavoring it with lime, garlic, green Thai chiles, and coriander root. Then he steams it—a preparation, he says, that is the preferred way of serving it in central Thailand.

Try it at home with Steamed Fish with Lime and Garlic.

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Barramundi Amok in Cambodia

According to chef Patricia Yeo of Shinta Mani Hotels, barramundi is an important part of the diet in Cambodia. It’s often used in the country’s most famous dish, the slightly sweet curry served in a banana leaf bowl known as amok. “It’s very mildly spicy and redolent with what I think of as the flavors of Cambodia: lemongrass, turmeric, gingers, and coconut milk,” says Yeo. To prepare it, she fillets the fish, then marinates it in a kraung (a paste of lemongrass, turmeric, gingers, and herbs). Then she steams it in a banana leaf “cradle” with coconut milk, local herbs, and oyster mushrooms.

Try cooking it at home with Fish Baked in Curry Custard.

Australis Barramundi - Must-Try Barramundi Recipes from Around the World - Curry

Barramundi Curry in India

Locally known as bhetki, barramundi is popular in Bengali cuisine, where it is prepared in a variety of ways. A flavorful and favorite preparation is in a curry, where the delicate fish is cooked alongside fragrant and warming spices like cumin, turmeric, and garam masala. It’s a perfect dish for cold, winter days and is served with rice or bread.

Try it at home with Bhetki Fish Curry.

Australis Barramundi Must-Try Barramundi Recipes from Around the World - Steamed

Simply Steamed Barramundi in China

Barramundi, or Asian sea bass, has become a staple in Cantonese food, the cuisine of China’s Guangdong Province. When compared to other regional Chinese cuisines, such as Szechuan, Cantonese cooking tends to be milder. In Cantonese dishes, barramundi is used in soups, steamed, or grilled.

At the Summer Palace restaurant, a popular Cantonese restaurant at the Edsa Shangri-La in Manila, Chinese chef Tony Sum offers steamed Asian sea bass with minimal flavorings year-round. The simple approach, says Sum, is the traditional way of preparing Asian sea bass in Guangdong Province. “The seasoning is simple but enhances the taste of the fish beautifully.”

Try it at home with Sum’s recipe for Very Simple Asian Sea Bass:

  • 1 two-pound whole Barramundi or fillets
  • ¼ cup light soy sauce
  • ½ cup soup stock
  • 2 teaspoons rock sugar or table sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chicken powder
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • ¼ cup spring onion, sliced
  • ¼ cup sesame oil
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro

In a steamer, place the sea bass and top with all of the ingredients except for the oil and cilantro. Steam for about 10 minutes, less for a smaller fish. Make sure not to overcook the fish because the taste of the dish will rely on how you well you steam it. Finish by drizzling the sesame oil and topping with the cilantro leaves.

From pan-fried and crispy to salt-crusted to curry, barramundi is adaptable to almost any cuisine. Give one of the recipes above a try to bring new flavors into your kitchen. Or, the next time you find yourself far away from home, keep a lookout for barramundi on the menu served in the local tradition.