Glengarry Glenfish

This is a particularly important Five Spice dish – it was developed for David Mamet and requested for publication in Bon Appetit. In Jerry’s own words:

Playwright David Mamet eats for weeks at our restaurant in the summer when he rehearses or directs plays with his company. Second day he was there, he asked me to make him something that was low in fat with no refined sugar–he’s rigid on this. The following–virtually no fat, no sugar– came off the top of my head in one minute. It’s unlike anything else we do. Mamet allowed us to name the dish after his best play, and we frequently run it as a special.

We have the official recipe index card as well as the recipe as submitted to Bon Appetit by Jerry. Note the subtle differences between the two recipes.

Glengarry Glenfish

Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Five Spice
Year: 1995
Servings: 1



  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garlic
  • teaspoons ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons sherry
  • broccoli
  • onions
  • baby corn
  • red peppers
  • 1 portion fish (catfish preferred)


  • 1 teaspoon fermented black beans
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • teaspoon soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper


  • Marinade fish.
  • Steam fish until cooked.
  • Steam veggies and season with remaining ingredients.

Jerry’s submitted recipe:


3-1/3 Tbsp yellow curry powder
3-1/2 T fish sauce
5 tsp cumin
1/3 cup orange juice
3 1/2 Tbsp finely minced garlic
3 Tbsp dry sherry
4 tsp minced ginger
(optional 1-2 1/2 tsp flaked red pepper, making dish hot)
6 6-8 oz. catfish fillets (salmon is good too)
Six cups sliced mixed vegetables for steaming (e.g., broccoli florets,
onions, fresh shiitake mushrooms, carrots)

Stir together 1 to 2-1/2 Tbsp fish sauce, 1 to 2-1/2 Tbsp
oyster sauce,* 2-1/2 tsp minced garlic, 1 Tbsp lemon juice or
1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1/3 tsp. ground black pepper.
(Note: Oyster sauce does contain some sugar.)

  1. Mix top 7 to 8 ingredients together and pour over fillets, rubbing
    all over. Marinate 1 to 4 hours–or use at once.
  2. Bring 2 quarts water to boil in Chinese steamer. Steam
    fish on lightly sprayed plate, 8 to 10 minutes**, till firm
    when poked.
  3. After fish has been steaming about three minutes, on a
    plate in second level of steamer steam vegetables a total of
    4-5 minutes. When vegetables are done (al dente and color-
    ful), toss vegetables with fish sauce-oyster sauce dressing.

One fillet per serving, with vegetables arranged attractively
on warm plates, plus white rice–preferably jasmine rice.

TIP: prep all ingredients except rice up to 24 hours before
steaming. Cover tightly with plastic and refrigerate.

**The heat of home stoves isn’t as hot as restaurant stoves,
so you may need more time for steaming–but don’t overcook.

I hope this low fat, lo cal dish is suitable for your
readers. (If you determine the calories, fat grams, etc.,
we’d like to be informed.)

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