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Thai Grilled Snapper with Coriander-Chilli Sauce

This fish recipe can be made outdoors on the barbecue, or you can pan-fry the fish indoors (or grill it on a stove-top grill). You’ll love the tenderness of the fish combined with this fantastic, taste-bud-awakening sauce, which can be made anywhere from mild to extra spicy to suit your taste.

Thai Grilled Snapper with Coriander-Chilli Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 1 medium-sized snapper, gutted and cleaned
  • sea salt
  • 2 limes
For sauce
  • ⅓ cup water
  • ½ tablespoon tamarind paste (available at Indian/Asian stores) OR substitute 1 tablespoon lime juice and ½ teaspoon soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 heaped teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal or fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh coriander leaves and stems
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • ½ red capsicum, de-seeded and diced
  • 1-2 fresh red chillies, minced (de-seeded if you prefer less heat)
For garnish
  • fresh coriander
  • sliced limes
  • slices of fresh cucumber and tomato (optional)
Instructions
  1. Prepare fish by rinsing it, then patting it dry. Make 2-3 diagonal cuts into the side of the fish (with the blade of the knife on an angle facing the head). The cuts should be 6-8 cm apart (this will make the fish easier to eat and give it more flavour).
  2. Squeeze the juice of 1-2 limes over and inside fish. Sprinkle surface with sea salt and set aside while you prepare the sauce.
  3. Place water, tamarind (or lime juice and soy sauce), garlic, sugar, galangal (or ginger), coriander, chilli, and fish sauce in a food processor. Process well (or chop and mix by hand).
  4. Pour the sauce into a sauce pan. Add the diced pepper and simmer over medium-low heat for 5-8 minutes. Taste test the sauce for salt and sour-sweetness (note that it should taste tangy), adding more fish sauce if not salty enough, and more sugar if you find it too sour. Cover and keep warm while you cook the fish. Tip: the capsicum should retain some of its crunchiness.
  5. Grill the fish on the barbecue or on a stove-top grill, or deep-fry it in a wok or large frying pan with 1 cup canola or other vegetable oil (oil should be at least 3cm deep). Allow to fry about 5 minutes on each side, or until the flesh has browned and flakes easily.
  6. To serve, plate the fish and pour the sauce over. Garnish with sprigs of fresh coriander and wedges of lime. Serve with plenty of Thai jasmine rice and enjoy with a cold lager or glass of white wine.
Notes
Don't flip the fish too early, or the skin will stick to the pan/barbecue. Allow it to cook at least 2 minutes before turning (the natural oils of the fish will then come through and "unstick" it).

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