Three Flavoured Fish

In this recipe the fish is fried whole and then the spicy sauce is poured over it. The size of the fish depends on how you wish to serve it e.g. individual fish portions or shared between two or more.

4 Portions: 4 individual fish or 1 large; 2 Portions: 1 medium fish
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 15-30minutes


  • 4 × 275-325g dabs, plaice or lemon sole, on the bone, & scored or
  • 1 × 1-1.2 kg red snapper, reef fish or similar fish, scored or
  • 1 × 600g red snapper or similar fish, scored (2 portions)
  • salt
  • peanut oil or sunflower oil for deep frying
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 large red or green chillies, seeds removed and chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp. coriander stem, finely chopped
  • 2 cm ginger, chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 3 tbsp. palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp tamarind water (soak 1 tbsp tamarind pulp with 4 tbsp boiling water, soak for 20 minutes and strain through a sieve)
  • 3 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • juice of 1/4 lime
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 4 red shallots, sliced & deep fried
  • 2 garlic cloves, slice and deep fried
  • 2 kafir lime leaves, shredded
  • 2 tbsp holy or normal basil leaves, deep fried
  • 1 tbsp coriander leaves, deep fried


  1. Sauce: Pound the garlic, chillies, coriander and ginger in a mortar and pestle or place in a food processor and blender and blitz it briefly so that you have a rough paste. Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the paste until it is aromatic. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside and keep warm until ready to serve.
  2. Fish: Heat the oil in a deep fryer or in a large wok to 180°C. Pat the fish dry and rub salt into the flesh. Deep fry small individual servings of fish (27-325g) for 5-8 minutes, until they are crisp and cooked through (600g fish will take 10-12 minutes or 1.2kg fish will take 12-18 minutes to cook).
  3. To Serve: Place the individual serving of fish on 4 plates or 1 large fish on a serving platter. Pour the hot sauce over the fish and sprinkle over the deep fried shallots, garlic, basil and coriander leaves and the lime leaves. Serve hot with steamed rice.