Sitting by Chaweng Beach in Ko Samui, under the stars, my barefeet in the sand, sipping on a Singha beer, I had one of the best grilled fish I’ve ever had. It was so great, that 15 years later I can recall that meal with such clarity – it was like it was yesterday.
I chatted to the Thai chefs, to ask what things were and watched them intently as they prepared the fish. On the back of some scrap paper, I scrawled down the methodology. It was so simple – relying on just a few ingredients, the freshest of fish and a charcoal grill fire.
With our recently purchased gas barbecue, it prompted me to attempt to recreate this memorable meal. A charcoal grill will produce better results, but I was still very happy with the outcome.
Fish per person
1 snapper, cleaned and scaled
1 tblspn butter at room temperature
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tblspn (approx) gluten-free oyster sauce
1 banana leaf
Dipping sauce, per person
Juice of one lime
1 tsp finely chopped green chilli
1 good pinch of sea salt (to taste)
1. First make dipping sauce. When making the dipping sauce, I prefer the Thai green scud chilli, however they are very hot, so you might prefer to use long green chillis – remove the seeds if you want a mild sauce. It’s really important to cut the chilli into itsy bitsy fine dice.
2. Mix the lime juice and salt and stir until salt crystals are dissolved. Add the chilli and taste. It should be salty, sour and hot.
3. Prepare banana leaf by draping the leaf quickly over a gas flame. This is an important step as the heat softens the leaf and makes it pliable. Without the heat, it will snap and break as you roll the fish into a parcel.
4. Mash the garlic and butter together and spread roughly over the leaf in a space that will cover double the width of the fish. This is so that when you fold the leaf, both sides of the fish will be covered with butter.
5. Over the butter drizzle the oyster sauce generously in a criss-cross fashion.
5. Place the fish on top of the butter and oyster sauce and roll the fish into a parcel.
6. Cover the banana leaf parcel with foil into a packet.
7. Heat your grill and when ready place the fish parcels on top. If using a weber cook on medium heat on direct heat (both burners on).
9. Cook fish for 10 minutes on each side. Let stand for another 5mins and check that its cooked through.
10. Serve fish with dipping sauce and boiled rice.