Whole Snapper Thai Style

Serves 4


2 whole snapper, cleaned with side fins removed and head and tail intact
2 tablespoons lime juice
4 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Vegetable oil for deep-frying

For the sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 spanish onion, cut into small wedges
½ cup fresh pineapple chunks
1 cup fish stock
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon palm sugar, grated
2 tablespoons basil, shredded

For the sambal

2 lebanese cucumbers, halved lengthways, deseeded and sliced
1 cup fresh coriander leaves
¼ cup basil, shredded
1 long red chilli, deseeded and sliced finely in strips


Wash the fish and drain on a paper towel. Make three diagonal cuts in the fleshiest part almost to the bone on both sides.

Combine lime juice and chilli sauce and rub into fish. Season both sides with salt and pepper, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

  • To make the sauce, heat oil in a heavy-based saucepan or pan, add onion and cook for 2 mintues. Add other ingredients and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
  • To make the sambal, combine all the ingrdients like a salad and toss together. Refrigerate until needed.
  • In a pan large enough to take the fish (one at a time will do) heat enough oil to cover them. Sprinkle fish on both sides with salt and lower it into the hot oil.
  • Cooking should take about 3-5 minutes depending on the fish. Allow 10 minutes of cooking time per inch of thickness, measured at the thickest part.
  • Serve immediately on a large platter with half the sauce poured over it. Dress the top with the sambal drizzled with the remaining sauce. Accompany the dish with steamed rice.


Sweet Italian basil, Thai basil or Holy basil will do. Put the rice on to cook after preparing the sambal.


Burke’s Backyard, Page 107
Recipe submitted by Kate Brown

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