Deep-fried ocean perch with three-flavoured sauce

Deep-fried ocean perch with three-flavoured sauce

New Thai Food
Jeremy Simons

Why three-flavoured sauce? It stands for sweet, sour and salty. You’ll find that baby snapper, whiting or river trout also works well in this dish.


Quantity Ingredient
1 x 800g ocean perch or other flaky-textured fish, cleaned
1 litre canola oil, for deep-frying
15g holy basil leaves
2 kaffir lime leaves, julienned, to garnish
1 long red chilli, julienned, to garnish
lime wedges, to garnish

Three-flavoured sauce

Quantity Ingredient
1 coriander root, scraped and cleaned
2.5 cm piece fresh turmeric, peeled
2 red bird’s eye chillies
3 long red chillies, seeded
3 red asian shallots, peeled
1 teaspoon shrimp paste, roasted
1 tablespoon lesser galangal, chopped
60ml canola oil
200g palm sugar, shaved
2 1/2 tablespoons Tamarind
1 teaspoon sea salt
or 1 tablespoon fish sauce
100g fresh pineapple, peeled and diced


  1. To make the three-flavoured sauce, pound the coriander root, turmeric, bird’s eye and long chillies, shallots, shrimp paste and lesser galangal in a mortar and pestle to a uniform paste.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium–high heat and fry the paste until crisp and fragrant, stirring continuously, for about 6–8 minutes. Add the palm sugar and 1 tablespoon water to help dissolve the sugar, and cook, stirring continuously, until the sugar caramelises slightly, for about 10–12 minutes. Stir in the tamarind, salt or fish sauce and pineapple and simmer for about 5 minutes until the pineapple has softened. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
  3. Score the fish on both sides with a sharp knife. Heat the oil for deep frying in a wok over a medium–high heat to 160°C, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns brown in 25–30 seconds. Deep-fry the fish until crisp, for about 12 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
  4. Deep-fry the basil in the oil until crisp, for about 10 seconds. Remove and drain on paper towel.
  5. Transfer the fish to a serving plate. Pour the three-flavoured sauce over and garnish with the crisp basil, lime leaves and chilli, with lime wedges on the side. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.
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