Thai-style fried pomfret
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Thai-style fried pomfret


Susan says

I'm still searching for the ultimate British dish of fish and chips - I've tasted it at gastro pubs run by celebrity chefs as well as specialist shops that have been around for decades. While I don't appreciate the dish as much as its fans, I love other types of fried fish. There's nothing delicate or subtle about fried fish, and it needs to be served with a strongly flavoured sauce.

With its balanced flavours of hot, sour, salty and sweet, this sauce is fantastic. If you have any leftover, serve it with other types of seafood or grilled meat.

For the fish
fresh pomfret, about 350g (12½oz) - it can be larger, but check it fits your pan
cooking oil, for frying
lemongrass stalk, the juicy lower part only (about 8cm or 3⅜in)
garlic cloves, peeled
red bird's-eye chillies, or another type of small, hot chilli, such as serrano
fresh coriander (cilantro) stalks with root attached
35g (1¼ oz)
palm sugar (or 2tbsp and 2tsp granulated sugar)
60ml (¼ cup)
fish sauce
70ml (¼ cup and 2tsp)
fresh lime juice
fine sea salt
To garnish
fresh limes
garlic cloves
red or green bird's-eye chillies, or another type of small, hot chilli, such as serrano

Make the sauce. Roughly chop the lemongrass, garlic cloves, bird's-eye chillies and coriander stalks. Dissolve the palm sugar in 45ml (3tbsp) of hot water then put it in the bowl of a food processor (or you can use an immersion blender). Add the lemongrass, garlic, chillies, coriander, fish sauce and lime juice, then purée. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.


Cut three slashes on each side of the pomfret, cutting to the bone. Dry the fish with paper towels. Sprinkle salt lightly over the fish and into the cavity.


Pour cooking oil to the depth of about 1.5cm (⅔in) into a skillet. Heat the oil to 180°C (350°F), then fry the fish for about five minutes in total, or until cooked through, flipping it over once. Drain on paper towels.


Put the fish on a plate and generously spoon the sauce over and around it (you might not need it all). Garnish with sliced lime and garlic, and whole or chopped chillies, then serve immediately.


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