Metabolism Booster – Tea Rubbed Halibut Recipe

Tea Rubbed Halibut
with Metabolic Salsa and Thin Sauce

Richard Collins, MD, The Cooking Cardiologist®

Cooking with tea is not a usual technique in American kitchens, yet tea flavors work very well with a variety of spices that help to balance flavors. This recipe is a perfect example of an Asian influence. The ingredients help to be a metabolism booster. The result is a refreshing, light dish. Do not be afraid of the unusual spices, flavors and cooking techniques. Consider yourself and your kitchen creating a new adventure. Serve this along side fresh ginger steamed asparagus spears. Enjoy.

For the Tea Rub:

4T of organic loose black tea leaves; my favorite is rishi, GOLDEN YUNNAN. It is exotic and silky with notes of raisin, sugar, & buckwheat honey, found in the Tea Section of Whole Foods.

  • ½ t ground gingerTea Rubbed Halibut -before
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ t whole coriander seeds
  • ¼ t whole black peppercorns
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • ½ t sea salt
  • 1 T olive oil to coat fish


1½ pounds of halibut skinned and filleted into 4 sections. Note: Any white fish will work such as fresh sea bass or mahi-mahi. The fish should be at least ¾ inches in thickness. Avoid a thin fish such as tilapia or trout. The fish will have a “blackened” crusted surface with a flakey center. Salmon and tuna will not allow the flavors of the spices to come through.

Spicy mango salsa:

  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and coarse chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, diced yielding 1 cup
  • 1 juice of a fresh orange
  • 1 T brown sugar

See the recipe section below for a quick alternative.

Roasted chili paste, ¼ t found in the Ethnic area Whole Foods and most grocery stores. Asian garlic chili sauce can be used in substitution

Salt to taste

For the Thin Tea Sauce:

  • 1 T of rishi, GOLDEN YUNNAN, black tea leaves
  • 1-cup vegetable broth, low sodium
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

In a small electric grinder, add all of the first seven ingredients: the black tea, ginger, cinnamon, coriander seeds, peppercorns, brown sugar and sea salt. Process until a powdery texture is developed. Place the spice rub onto a medium sized plate.

Pat dry the white fish. Brush on oil olive on the top and bottom surfaces.

Dredge the fish into the dry rub, coating the top and bottom surfaces and pressing firmly to adhere the rub. Set onto a dry plate. Let rest to develop flavors at least 15 to 20 minutes.

Prepare the salsa. For a quick method, pre-purchase the Mango Salsa at Whole Foods, adding only the sugar, orange juice and roasted chili paste (found in the Ethnic Section). Combine all ingredients and set aside.

For the thin sauce, bring the vegetable broth to a near boil. Add the tea leaves. Simmer for 2 minutes. Using a fine sieve, filter the liquid. Salt & pepper according to taste and set aside.

Using an iron skillet, preheat the surface to HOT, water droplets should burst into vapor.  Surface temperature ideally should be approximately 4250F. Sear for 5 minutes on each side and then remove from heat. Cover and cook the fish for another 5 minutes. There is plenty of heat remaining in the iron skillet. After 5 minutes, remove from the pan to prevent over cooking.

For a side dish, wash and prepare a bunch of asparagus tips, removing the woody steams. Place on a microwave safe dish. Add a tablespoon of fresh pickled ginger (found in the sushi section of most grocery stores). Wrap in a moist paper towel and microwave for 2-3 minutes.

To serve, divide the white fish into 4 plates. Add the salsa. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the thin sauce on the bottom. Garnish with the cilantro.

Serves 4. Serving size: ¼ of the fish with salsa and 2 T of the thin sauce. Recipe analysis does not include the asparagus.

Nutrition Info:  Calories: 300, Total Fat: 6 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 90 mg, Sodium: 450 mg, Carbohydrate: 24 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 36 g

Diabetic Exchanges: 5 Very Lean Protein, 1 Fruit, ½ Carb