Thai Grilled Whole Fish With Coriander-Chili Sauce

Thai grilled whole fish with coriander-chili sauce


  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 1 whole fish (4 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
651 Calories
57g Fat
29g Carbs
12g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 whole fish (4 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 651
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 57g 73%
Saturated Fat 4g 19%
Cholesterol 13mg 4%
Sodium 888mg 39%
Total Carbohydrate 29g 11%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Protein 12g
Calcium 189mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This traditional Thai fish recipe can be made outdoors on the barbecue, or you can pan-fry the fish indoors - it is made both ways in Thailand. You'll love the tenderness of the fish combined with a fantastic coriander-chili sauce, which can be made from mild to extra spicy to suit your taste. Nearly any whole "white-fleshed" fish can be used for this recipe.


  • 1 small trout (or, snapper, sea bass, sea perch, sea bream, or other white fish; cleaned)
  • Dash sea salt
  • 2 limes
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 tbsp. tamarind paste (or substitute 1 tbsp. lime juice +1/2 tsp. dark soy sauce)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 heaping tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal (or ginger, peeled and sliced)
  • 1 cup fresh coriander (leaves and stems)
  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (de-seeded and diced)
  • 1 to 2 fresh red chilies (minced, de-seeded if you prefer less heat)
  • Optional: 1 cup vegetable oil (for deep-frying)

Steps to Make It

  1. Prepare fish by rinsing it, then patting it dry. Make 2 to 3 diagonal cuts on the side of the fish (with the blade of the knife on an angle facing the head). The cuts should be several inches apart.

  2. Squeeze the juice of 1 to 2 limes over and inside fish. Sprinkle surface with sea salt and set aside while you prepare the sauce.

  3. Place water, tamarind (or lime juice + soy sauce), garlic, sugar, galangal (or ginger), coriander, chili, and fish sauce in a food processor. Process well (or chop and mix by hand).

  4. Pour the sauce into a saucepan. Add the diced pepper and simmer over medium-low heat for 5 to 8 minutes. Taste test the sauce for salt and sour-sweetness, adding more fish sauce if not salty enough, and more sugar if you find it too sour. Cover and keep warm while you cook the fish.

  5. Grill the fish on the barbecue, or deep-fry it in a wok or large frying pan with 1 cup canola or other vegetable oil. Allow to fry about 5 minutes on each side, or until the flesh has browned and flakes easily. Don't flip the fish too early, or the skin will stick to the pan/barbecue. Allow it to cook at least 2 minutes before turning.

  6. To serve, plate the fish and pour the sauce over. Garnish with sprigs of fresh coriander and wedges of lime. Serve with plenty of Thai jasmine rice and enjoy with a cold lager or glass of white wine.

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