Monday, March 22, 2010

Thai-style Whole Snapper

Cooking a fish whole is probably the best way to get all of the flavor that you can out of the fish.  As with most meats, cooking the flesh on the bone makes it very juicy and flavorful.  It also makes for a very dramatic presentation as long as your guests are comfortable seeing the whole fish, head and all.  Make sure your fishmonger has scaled and cleaned the fish as this is a task I doubt you have much interest in.

Tell me this little guy isn't just aching to get doused in a spicy marinade, thrown on a sizzling grill, and devoured by 2 hungry mouths love that love a bit of spice.  I hope he likes chili...

Using some pretty typical ingredients in Asian cooking, I made a fresh, yet quite spicy marinade to give our tasty friend a little kick.  You can really use whatever you like - add different herbs, less chili, MORE chili, skip the coconut, add more lime if you want it zingier.  Whatever goes!  A lesson learned on my part... next time I need to more heavily oil the grill, or better yet, use a fish basket.  I had some issues with the skin sticking to grill.  Despite looking a little rough, it was absolutely delicious.  I served the fish with plain steamed rice to balance the spiciness.

Thai-style Grilled Snapper


1 whole snapper (mine was just over 1 lb)
olive oil
1 tbsp cilantro (coriander) leaves, to garnish
1 lime, cut into rounds, to garnish

1 cup cilantro (coriander) leaves
1/2 cup thai basil leaves
6 garlic cloves
3 shallots
3 chilis
2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp white pepper
 2 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup coconut cream
2 tbsp fish sauce

1. Cut incisions diagonally along both sides of fish using sharp knife.  Incisions should be about 1/2 inch apart.

2. For marinade, blend all ingredients in food processor and pour over fish.  Reserve about 1/4 of the marinade for brushing over the fish once it has been grilled.

3. Thoroughly oil grill by soaking a paper towel in oil and using tongs to rub oiled town onto grates. This is an important step, I did not oil my grill well enough which caused the skin to stick a bit.  If you have a fish basket, use it!

4. Grill on each side for about 6 minutes or until cooked through.  Make sure to flip your fish carefully using a large spatula. 

5. Remove fish from grill, pour over remaining marinade and garnish with cilantro.  Now... dig in!!!


  1. This looks so yummy. I love fish and Thai food. I'll have to try this. Thanks!

  2. You definitely should! It was delicious! I am dying to get to Thailand while I'm in this part of the world!



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