Steamed Black Cod with Sweet Potatoes and Dried Shrimp

Chris Kajioka steams fish in bundles of kale
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Steamed Black Cod
Photo: Lizzie Munro/Tasting Table

For a more modern take on steamed black cod, Chris Kajioka wraps the fish in kale instead of traditional taro leaves. Don't skimp on the dried shrimp, as its provides another added layer of funky flavor.

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Steamed Black Cod with Sweet Potatoes and Dried Shrimp

Recipe adapted from Chris Kajioka, Senia, Honolulu, HI

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes


2 small purple sweet potatoe

8 large curly kale leaves

8 large lacinato kale leaves

12 ounces black cod, skin removed and cut into 4 pieces

Kosher salt, to taste

2 teaspoons minced garlic

4-inch piece of ginger, peeled and julienned (about 4 tablespoons)

4 teaspoons dried baby shrimp (optional)

4 tablespoons shredded nori, for garnish


1. Place the sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, 6 to 8 minutes, depending on their size. Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle.

2. Peel the potatoes and cut into ¼-inch round pieces, or half moons if they are large, and set aside.

3. Arrange 2 pieces of the curly kale leaves flat onto a work surface so that the leaves are overlapping each other to form an X. Place 1 piece of the lacinato kale horizontally on top of the curly kale, with the leaf in the center and the stem pointing out. Repeat with a second lacinato kale leaf, overlapping in the center and the stem pointing out directly across the opposite side.

4. Working with 1 piece of fish at a time, season both sides of the fish with salt and place on top of the lacinato kale leaves, along with 3 pieces of potato. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of the garlic, 1 tablespoon of the ginger and 1 teaspoon of the dried shrimp on and around the potatoes and fish. Season with more salt.

5. Gather the tops and bottoms of the lacinato kale up into a tepee shape. Do the same with the outer layer of curly kale leaves to create a bundle and to enclose the fish. Using butcher's twine, tie the top of the bundle together into a canopy to secure. Repeat with remaining kale leaves and fish.

6. Add water to a large pot fitted with a steamer basket to a depth of 3 inches. The basket should sit at least 2 inches above the water.

7. Place the assembled kale bundles onto the steaming rack in a single layer and cook, covered until the fish is cooked through, 8 to 9 minutes. Remove the kale bundles from the pot and serve immediately with a garnish of nori.

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