Thai Spicy Fish

Thai crispy fish with tamarind sauce


  • 2 green shallots, trimmed, sliced into 5cm-long strips
  • 1kg whole snapper, cleaned, scaled ** see note
  • 75g (1/2 cup) plain flour
  • Vegetable oil, to deep-fry
  • 1 long fresh red chilli, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 100 gram red onion sliced
  • 50 gr yellow paprika sliced
  • 2 or 3 tomato cheries
  • spring onion for garnish
  • Lime wedges, to serve


  • 3 coriander roots, cleaned, coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 long fresh red chillies, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 French shallot, thinly sliced
  • 4cm piece fresh ginger, peeled, very finely sliced
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) tamarind concentrate
  • 65g (1/3 cup) shaved palm sugar
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 1-2 tbs water, optional



  • Place sliced shallot in a bowl of cold water and set aside to soak. The strips should curl as they soak.
  • For sauce, use a mortar and pestle to pound coriander, garlic, chilli and salt to a paste. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the French shallot and ginger.
  • Stir-fry for 1 minute or until aromatic, red onion, paprika and tomato cherry.  Add coriander paste. Stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add tamarind, sugar and fish sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Set aside.
  • Cut 3 slashes in the thickest part of the snapper on both sides. Place the flour on a large plate. Lightly coat fish in flour. Shake off any excess. (note: other options like me I cut into a smaller pieces and coated with flour and shake off any excess)
  • Fill a wok one-third full with oil. Heat to 180°C over high heat (see tip). Cook fish for 4 minutes each side or until just cooked through and golden. Drain on paper towel.
  • Reheat sauce. Add water if too thick. Transfer fish to a plate. Pour sauce over fish. Sprinkle shallot and chilli, if using, over fish. Serve with lime wedges.