Authentic Thai Fried Fish with Basil & Garlic – Chili Sauce, hot!
This is from a cookbook of my brothers, one he got after a trip to Thailand. He actually introduced me to to the specific recipe too, cooking it one night when I was quite a bit younger and my parents were out, it burned my juvenile taste-buds out! My brother Tim is a vegetarian, sometimes pescetarian, but I lack his qualms, so have been taking advantage of the brilliant meat recipes, I think this is the one, but I would have to be at my parents to check! if you like hot food, fish and garlic, this is a really amazing meal to make for guests or a special occasion. The large amounts of cooking oil and strength of flavour mean I only make this once or twice a year, but that means it is always such a treat when I do.
I have only ever made this with supermarket rainbow trout with which it works perfectly, enhancing but never masking the delicate oily fish flavour, but try it with other varieties too, just pick a fish with firm flesh that will fry well!
– Recipe –
1-2 whole fish, Snapper, Bream, Flounder or Trout – I always use Trout, it’s cheap
6 cloves of Garlic, chopped coarsely
1 Onion, chopped finely
5 medium Red Chilies, sliced thinly or cut into rings (use birds eye chilies for the hot version)
1 long Red Chili, in large pieces
1 long Green Chili, in large pieces
1 tablespoon Fish Sauce
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1/2 a cup of Chicken Broth
3/4 of a cup fresh Thai Basil (or normal if you cant get it!)
1/2 a cup fresh Coriander Leaves
- Scale and gut the fish if needed, to scale: just hold under cold water and repeatedly run a knife towards the head from the tail end until all the scales are removed, and then wash thoroughly. To gut: make a shallow cut across the belly from behind the gills to its bum without cutting into the organs inside, scissors work well. From the head end use your thumb to lift/pull the organs out as a whole piece. Clean the inside with a bit of water, rubbing away the whitish tissue along its back bone and then very lightly rub with kosher salt (or normal, but Kosher is better as it takes longer to dissolve).
- Score the Fish with three deep slashes on each side to help it cook evenly. Heat 3-4 inches of Oil in a wok to 180C (350F), then begin to cook the Fish till crispy, 7-10 minutes, flipping once. When done, take out and let dry on paper towels for a few minutes.
- While frying the Fish, heat two tablespoons Oil in a separate pan and fry the Onion, Garlic, and Chili till browning slightly. Add the Fish Sauce, Soy Sauce and Stock, then cook one minute. Add the Basil Leaves, stir and then pour over the Fish. Top over with the Coriander just before serving.
- If you want an extra garnish, take a handful of individual Basil Leaves and fry them in the Oil till they just turn semi opaque and then dry them on paper towels.
- Serve with Coconut Rice!