When eating with friends and family, no Thai meal would be complete without a seafood dish (or two!). Thai style fried fish is easy to prepare and goes well with just about anything. My spicy seafood dip is a must have with this fish. After frying, the outside of the fish will be crispy, and the inside white, firm and perfectly cooked. I used sea bream for this one, but sea bass, pompano, or any fish with firm, white flesh will do just fine. If you can, try and make sure the tail gets some time in the oil to go crispy – it’s the one of the best bits. Talking of best bits…. be sure to eat the skin, and also see if there’s any little tender pockets of meat just below the eyes (as in the picture). When you’re done with this, there shouldn’t be anything left other than bones….
Unless you have a spit guard, I’d suggest covering the surfaces around the stove, and the floor in front, with paper towels or newspaper, to prevent a huge mess when the oil spits.
Some people like the rub the fish with salt after scoring, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Most of the salt falls off anyway, and, unless you live in a tropical climate where you’re sweating it all out, you probably don’t need any extra salt in your diet. Fish sauce provides most Thai food fanatics with plenty enough sodium to not need any more!
a fresh fish
enough oil to nearly (about two thirds) submerge the fish
1. Put the oil in a wok and set the heat to medium. Whilst the oil is heating up, prepare the fish.
2. Wash the fish, and then pat it dry with paper towels. Dry the body cavity too, or when it goes in the oil there will be hot oil flying everywhere.
3. Score the flesh, as in the picture, at intervals about 2 cm apart. Scoring at an opposite angle on the other side helps keep the fish whole, otherwise it goes a bit floppy.
4. Dry it again.
5. Once the oil is hot, gently lower the fish into the oil. It will start to boil and pop. Stand back.
6. Turn the fish over after about 5 mins.
7. Fry until golden on both sides. How golden really depends on how crispy you like it.
8. Once done, carefully remove with tongs and place on a paper towel to drain for a couple of mins.
9. Serve with spicy dipping sauce, rice, and whatever else takes your fancy.