Deep Fried Whole Snapper

Deep Fried Whole Snapper Photo: Tim Elwin

Deep Fried Whole Snapper
Photo: Tim Elwin

A sweet and salty sauce over crispy fish. The sauce on this fish is the same used for our Thai Sticky Chicken Wings recipe… It works beautifully on both!

Serves 3-4 (with rice etc)


  • 900g (2lb) Whole Snapper, gutted, cleaned
  • 3-4 Tablespoons of Corn Flour
  • 1 x Tablespoon Fish Sauce
  • 3 x Tablespoon Light Soy Sauce (see recipe notes)
  • 3 x Tablespoon Thai Coconut Sugar (otherwise brown is fine)
  • Juice from a Medium Sized Lemon
  • 1 Teaspoon Grated Ginger
  • 2-3 litres of Vegetable Oil (such as Canola or Sunflower)
  • 1-2 Birdseye or long red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped Green Shallots or Chives
  • Serve with Steamed Rice & Pak Choi or similar

What You’ll need

  • 1 Large Wok (you can use a deep fryer but most home version are too small to fit the fish)
  • 1 small pot
  • Tongs
  • A large slotted spoon
  • Kitchen Scissors


Preheat your oil to 180ºC (360ºF).

Pat the fish dry inside and out with a kitchen cloth or paper towel.

Using your scissors, cut off the side fins, trim the tail by at least half and cut off the top dorsal fins.

With a sharp knife and at a 45 degree angle, score the fish 1 inch apart then repeat crossing the lines you have just scored. Turn over the fish and repeat.  You are ultimately making 1 inch chunks of goodness for easy picking later.

Dust the fish in the corn flour and rub it into all the cuts as well as inside the belly.  Gently lower the fish into the oil and deep fry for around 5 minutes then carefully turn over (with the tongs and slotted spoon) and fry for a further 4-5 minutes until a dark golden brown. Once cooked, drain for a minute or so.

Whilst the fish is cooking put the fish sauce, light soy sauce, sugar and ginger into the small pot and cook on a medium-high heat until the sugar completely dissolves (around 3-5 minutes), Remove from the heat and squeeze in the lemon juice, mixing well to loosen the sauce.

Place the fish on a serving plate and coat with the sauce then top with chilli and shallots or chives.

Serve with the Steamed Rice and Pak Choi


LIGHT SOY SAUCE: If you cannot find a light Soy Sauce then use 2 tablespoons of dark soy and 1 tablespoon of water.

© Tim Elwin 2016