I love this dish. I always order it in restaurants but I’ve been making it for years and I have to say that it is as good as any restaurant version I’ve tried.
Don’t be put off by the frying of the fish. If you have an electric wok its easy !
The three flavours are the salty, sweet and hot, and the combination of the crispy fish and the sauce is an absolute winner.
The sauce will cover 2 small snappers around 500g each. I usually serve 1 fish between two people with steamed rice along with another seafood dish or vegetable or Thai salad.
Firstly make the sauce. This can be prepared earlier and reheated in the microwave or in a saucepan just before serving.
Please note I used green chilli because that is what I had in my fridge, but red look better in the sauce. Leave some of the seeds in to make it a bit hotter if you like, depending on your chilli tolerance.
I’ve found the easiest way to deal with palm sugar is to soak for a few minutes in water whereby you can then easily shave or chop it finely.
To make the tamarind water, I used tamarind puree in a jar= 1 teaspoon with 2 tblspn of water and stir to mix through.
4 cloves garlic
4 red medium-hot chillis, seeded and chopped roughly
4 coriander roots, washed and scraped to remove any traces of dirt
3 tblspn palm sugar
1 tsp sea salt
2 tblpsn oil (I used rice bran)
2 tblspn tamarind water (see note above)
2 tblspn fish sauce
2 tblspn water
Put garlic, coriander roots, chilli and salt into the small bowl of a food processor or handheld bamix and blend until finely chopped.
Place in a small saucepan with the rice bran oil and fry for a minute or two until fragrant.
Add the palm sugar, fish sauce, tamarind water and the additional water and simmer mixture for about 5 minutes. Keep aside until the fish is cooked.
It should be sweet, sour and spicy. If you find its too sweet, give a squeeze of lime juice.
1 x Snapper 500-600g for two people
rice bran oil to fry
3 kaffir lime leaves sliced very finely
handful of coriander leaves
tablespoon Thai basil leaves chopped finely
red chillis chopped finely
deep fried shallots (the ones you buy in a jar from Asian supermarket)
Cut three slashes in the thickest part of the fish. Sprinkle with salt.
Heat oil in a wok (about a cup) until hot. Carefully slide in the fish. If you are cooking two fish, you will need to cook one at a time. Cook for a few minutes until you can see the fish is golden brown.
Carefully with a spatula and tongs turn the fish and cook the other side.
Again, remove carefully from the wok and put onto a plate with paper towel to soak up any excess oil.
Plate up on serving platter and top with warmed sauce, herbs, extra chilli and fried shallots.
Serve with steamed rice.