Saturday, September 10, 2011

Thai Flavored Whole Fish

I absolutely LOVE cooking whole fish. Although I mostly make fish curries, sometimes it feels good to have something a little different. The fish here is deep fried and then cooked using Thai ingredients that provides for an amazingly light yet flavorful sauce.     

I've used croaker for this recipe but feel free to use any white fish of your choice like tilapia or snapper. 


Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min

Juice of 1 lime
Rice flour (Use corn starch or regular flour if you don't have rice flour on hand)
1 cup oil for deep frying

1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha (thai chili sauce)
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce (dark soy sauce is a sweeter, thicker version of regular soy sauce) (optional)
2 green chillies (don't slit the chillies if like your food less spicy )
1/4 cup water 
1/2 cup basil leaves 

Clean the fish really well and pat dry with a paper towel. Put 2-3 deep gashes into each of the sides of the fish at an angle. Make sure the gashes are at least an inch apart from each other or the fish will break when frying. Now rub the juice of one lime and salt (according to taste) on the fish and leave it to marinate for 10 minutes. Don't forget to rub some juice on the insides as well. 

 After marinating, sprinkle enough rice flour to gently coat the fish, shake off excess flour and deep fry till the fish is cooked completely. A perfectly fried fish will have crispy skin and the slashes will open up.

One great tip about frying fish- never flip the fish too early otherwise it will stick to the pan and break. Give each side 3-5 minutes before flipping over gently. 

Dry the fish on paper towel after you've fried it and heat up 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan large enough to hold the fish. Put all the other ingredients except for the basil and cook for 2/3 minutes. Add a small amount of water (about 1/4 cup) if the sauce starts to stick to the pot. Stir constantly while the sauce is cooking and taste test to see if it needs more salt. Now, add the fish and cook uncovered for 5 minutes on each side. 

The fish will soak up all the lovely flavors of the sauce within a few minutes and a few minutes before taking it off the heat add Thai basil. Regular basil works fine too but the subtle aroma of Thai basil enhances the flavor so much more that it's worth getting some. 

This fish is best served warm with enough rice to mop up all that delicious sauce.

As always.. ENJOY!! :)


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