Thai-style deep-fried snapper

Oct 12, 2015

For the next few weeks, until the season closes on November 1, make the most of sweet and delicate snapper caught in South Australia’s coastal water.

Snapper is the perfect fish for baking or deep-frying whole, as it retains its moisture and is relatively easy pick out the bones.

Adelaide Central Market stallholder Sam Andonas, of Samtass, says snapper represents both good value and good eating at the moment.

“Fresh SA pink snapper is in season now, which means it is at its very best,” he says.

“Market shoppers can pick up this premium fish at a great price of around $21 per kilo.”

The following recipe supplied by Adelaide Central Market uses fresh whole South Australian snapper.

Thai-style deep-fried snapper


800 g to 1 kg whole snapper, cleaned, rinsed and dried
½ cup fine rice flour
1.5 litres vegetable oil, to deep fry
1 long red chilli, de-seeded and sliced, to serve
2 spring onions, sliced to serve
¼ cup fried shallots, to serve
½ cup coriander leaves, to serve
Juice of one lime, to serve

Thai sweet and sour sauce
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2 coriander roots, washed and roughly chopped
3 long red chillies, de-seeded and roughly chopped
1 tbsp crushed garlic
1 tbsp grated ginger
3 red shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
¼ cup tamarind paste
1 tbsp palm or brown sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce


To make the sauce, place the coriander root, chillis, garlic, ginger, red shallots and oil together in a food processor and pulse ingredients to a smooth paste.

Heat a medium saucepan over a medium heat, add paste and cook for 2 minutes or until aromatic. Add tamarind paste, sugar and fish sauce with 80 ml water, stirring to combine. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until reduced by a third. Remove from heat and check balance, adjusting accordingly so that the sauce is sweet, sour, hot and salty. Set aside for later.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a wok over a high heat (about a third full), until a piece of bread sizzles and becomes golden. Score the fish from the head to the tail, at 1cm intervals, cutting through to the bones. Evenly coat the fish in the rice flour, removing any excess. Carefully slide the fish into the hot oil and cook for five minutes each side or until skin is crispy and fish is just cooked.

To serve, place half the sauce down the centre of a platter, place the cooked fish on top and spoon the remaining sauce over the fish. Garnish with chilli, spring onions, fried shallots, coriander leaves and lime juice.

Serves 4
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