Sunday, 17 September 2017

PREPARE: Thai Deep-fried Whole Fish

This recipe for Thai style deep-fried fish is a stunning dish for a shared banquet.

The crunch of the crispy skin is a wonderful contrast to the delicate flesh of the snapper.


- 1 kg whole snapper, cleaned

- 2 tbsp soy sauce

- 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra, to deep-fry

- 2 tbsp tamarind water

- 135 g (½ cup) palm sugar

- 1 tbsp fish sauce

- julienned red bird’s-eye chillies, diagonally sliced spring onions, coriander leaves and lime juice, to serve

- 2 coriander roots, cleaned, chopped

- 3 long red chillies, seeded, roughly chopped

- 4 garlic cloves

- 3 Asian red eschalots

- 1 tbsp dried prawns


Marinating time: 10 minutes

To make the paste, using a mortar and pestle, grind all ingredients until smooth.

Rinse fish inside and out under running water. Pat dry inside and out with paper towel.

Using the tip of a sharp knife, make shallow slits spaced ½ cm apart along both sides of the fish. Place fish in a bowl with soy sauce and marinate for 10 minutes. Drain. Pat dry with paper towel.

Fry oil and paste in a saucepan over medium heat for 3 minutes.

Add tamarind, sugar, fish sauce and 100 ml water.

Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Lift gill flaps on sides of fish.

Pin them open using a skewer inserted through centre of fish. This allows fish to stand upright. Make 3 x 2 cm-deep cuts widthwise across top of fish.

Arrange the fish in an S-shape inside a deep-frying basket.

Fill deep-fryer with oil and heat to 170°C.

Carefully add the fish and cook for 8 minutes or until golden and skin is crisp.

Transfer fish to a platter, spoon over the sauce and top with chillies, spring onions and coriander leaves and drizzle over lime juice, to serve.

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