Main content

Deep-Fried Whole Fish with Chilli and Garlic

You may be surprised to hear that a lighter red was the best match we came across for this dish – which on face value would seem like an obvious white wine match. And while it’s worth bearing in mind that a handful of full-bodied whites will rise to the challenge (varieties like Viognier, Marsanne, and Gruner Veltliner) Pinot Noir – preferably from the Southern Hemisphere, and preferably with a slight chill – will do the trick nicely. Producers that should be on your shopping list include De Bortoli, Innocent Bystander, Yering Station and Kooyong.


  • 1 small whole Snapper or bass, scaled and gutted

  • 2 - 4 L vegetable oil

  • 2 - 3 L Coriander roots

  • 2 scud Chilli's halved and stem removed

  • 2 Garlic Cloves peeled

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped Ginger

  • 1 stalk of Lemongrass

  • 4 juiced Limes

  • Fish sauce

  • 1 Pinch of white sugar

  • 1 small handful of picked Thai Basil

  • 1 small handful of freshly picked Coriander


  • 1.

    Heat the vegetable in a large wok, once the oil is hot carefully slide the fish in and cook until golden in colour.

  • 2.

    While the fish is cooking bring together in mortar and pestle the coriander root, chillis, garlic cloves, ginger and the lemongrass and bash to combine and break down all the ingredients.

  • 3.

    Add to the mortar and pestle the limejuice and then a splash of fish sauce and add sugar to balance between hot, sour and salty.

  • 4.

    Once the fish is ready remove from the oil and drain well on absorbent paper.

  • 5.

    Place the fish onto a plate and pour all the ingredients from the mortar and pestle over the fish. Finally scatter over the fresh herbs and serve immediately.


This is a real favourite of mine, big bold flavours and eat with your fingers type of food. Technique tells me that it could be good to dust the fish in flour or cornflour first before frying to give an easier crispy skin.

If the idea of whole fried fish scares you the head can be removed, or this recipe could be done using fish fillets or why not grill the fish for a really healthy alternative and place the dressing ingredients over the top.

» Metric Converter

Tell us what you think in the comments below


Sign Out

Click to Rate

Join the Conversation

Please note, LifeStyle cannot respond to all comments posted in our comments feed. If you have a comment or query you would like LifeStyle to respond to, please use our feedback form.

0 0 0 0 0
Average Rating
0 comments • 0 ratings