Bright and colorful turmeric fish skewers make a show-stopping main dish. Top them with a Vietnamese-inspired herb sauce and serve over coconut rice. You can grill the skewers or cook them under the broiler.
What you see here may be the official dish of our summer table. The flavors were inspired by the “Vietnamese Turmeric Fish” in Milk Street Tuesday Nights (which is a staple in our kitchen btw), but my recipe takes such a different turn, it felt unfair not to share it here. I wanted all of those flavors in a summer-friendly package that doesn’t require too much time over a hot stove and could even be thrown on the grill. The result are these bright yellow, quick-cooking skewers. They’ll take a few minutes to assemble, but everything can be made and prepped ahead, requiring just a few minutes on the grill to finish and serve.
What You’ll Love About Turmeric Fish Skewers
So much flavor! The tender fish has a light savory flavor from the ground turmeric, but it’s the toppings and rice that really round things out. The sauce is loaded with Vietnamese-inspired ingredients including fresh herbs, sugar, and a bit of fish sauce. While regular rice works just fine, coconut rice adds a bit of aromatic sweetness that really makes this meal feel special.
This recipe is:
- Make-Ahead Friendly
Will Ground Turmeric Stain?
Yes! Be careful when working with ground turmeric – it will turn anything it touches bright yellow-orange and can be difficult (if not impossible) to get out of fabrics and off of counters.
When assembling these skewers, the turmeric will lightly stain your hands, so if you are feeling protective of your fingernails, pass the job to assemble the skewers off to another family member.
- Use Chicken – Not a fish fan? Chicken (breast or thigh) works great. Chicken may take slightly longer to cook.
- Use a Different Fish – Mahi Mahi will hold its shape well, but salmon or swordfish would be great substitutes.
More Recipes with Fish
- Salmon Burgers with Creamy Lemon Herb Sauce
- Tuna Noodle Casserole with Crunchy Topping
- Foil-Roasted Salmon with Chickpeas and Greens
- Broiled Honey Lime Salmon
- Slow Roasted Halibut with Burst Tomatoes and Gremolata
- All Clad Saucepan
- Bamboo Skewers
- 6-inch Global Knife
- Cutting Board
- Anchor 3-Piece Glass Mixing Bowls
- Half Sheet Pan
Turmeric Fish Skewers with Herb Sauce and Peanuts
- Medium Saucepan
- Skewers (Bamboo or Metal)
- Mixing Bowls
- Half Sheet Pan
Turmeric Fish Skewers:
- 8 Bamboo or Metal Skewers
- 1 ½ lbs Boneless and Skinless Mahi Mahi filets, sliced into cubes
- 2 Tbsp Cooking Oil (any type)
- ½ tsp Ground Turmeric
- ½ tsp Kosher Salt (see note)
- ¼ tsp Black Pepper
- 8 Lime Wedges
- ½ cup chopped Roasted Peanuts
- 1 cup packed Cilantro Leaves (you can include the thin, tender top parts of the stems)
- ¼ cup packed Mint Leaves
- 2 stalks Green Onions
- ¼ cup Lime Juice
- 2 Tbsp Warm Water
- 1 Tbsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Fish Sauce
- 2 cups Jasmine Rice (see note)
- 1 cup Light Coconut Milk
- 1 ¾ cups Water
- Combine rice, coconut milk, and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When liquids are bubbling vigorously, reduce heat to low-medium (or move the pan to another burner over low-medium) and cover. Cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest, covered for 10 minutes.
- While rice rests, if using bamboo skewers, soak in water for 10 minutes. (This will help prevent burning.)
- Finely chop the cilantro, mint, and green onions. Whisk together lime juice, warm water, sugar, and fish sauce until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in herbs. (You can also combine everything in a small food processor and pulse until finely chopped.)
- In a large bowl, toss fish in oil until coated. Add turmeric, salt, and black pepper and toss to coat.
- Thread mahi mahi onto skewers.
- Place skewers on a sheet pan and refrigerate until ready to cook. (If cooking under the broiler you can broil the fish directly on this pan.)
- Heat a grill or turn on the oven’s broiler and place a rack about 8 inches beneath the heat source.
- Grill skewers or cook them on a sheet pan under the broiler, turning once they are golden brown and cooked on one side, until tender, flaky, and cooked through, 4 to 7 minutes total.
- Serve skewers over coconut rice with herb sauce, lime wedges, and chopped peanuts for topping. Enjoy!
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