This recipes makes a dramatic presentation perfect for a dinner party. Caution should be used when deep frying the fish; make sure you have plenty of room and a big pot. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.
1 whole fresh fish such as tilapia, cleaned and scaled
1 litre oil for deep frying
2 tablespoons cooking oil
5 large red chilli peppers, sliced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/4 cup Thai basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped coriander
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Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan hot. Dip the head of the fish into the oil; if it sizzles it is ready, if it does not sizzle then wait a couple of minutes and try again.
Rinse the fish and dry well. Make several angled slits along the body of the fish cutting down to the rib bones. Make two lateral slits along the back of the fish, from head to tail, on either side of the dorsal fin. These cuts will ensure quick cooking and maximum crispiness.
Gently slip the fish into the oil and fry until crispy, 7 to 10 minutes. Carefully remove the fish from the oil and let it drain on paper towels. Place on a large serving platter.
While the fish drains heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large frypan. Cook and stir the chilli peppers, garlic and onion in the hot oil until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir the fish sauce and soy sauce into the mixture, remove from heat and fold the Thai basil and coriander into the mixture. Pour the sauce over the fish to serve.