Living in the Mekong region for several years, I've enjoyed a variety of fish and one of my favorites is fried Red Snapper. It's very crispy and has a mild balanced flavor which never disappoints. If no Red Snapper is available it can be interchanged with Red Tilapia for similar results. Thailand, Vietnam, and Korea each have their own delicious variation on the dish, often served with either a chili, tamarind, or a soy-based sauce glaze. Below are the recipes for these tasty sauces to enjoy with fried red snapper.
First we'll cover how to fry the fish for maximum crunch! This method can be used for all three styles. Then choose a sauce to make from either Vietnam, Korea, or Thailand. For a true Mekong-style serving, present the whole fried fish on a bed of lettuce. Spread the sauce over the top of the fish and enjoy along with jasmine rice!
Fried Red Snapper
1 large or 2 small Red Snapper (or Tilapia)
oil for deep-frying
Prepare the fish before by cleaning it and drying it with a paper towel. Score fish along both sides. Lightly salt both sides and inside the scoring. Prepare flour on a plate or in a bag and bread the fish evenly on both sides.
Add the fish to heated oil (350F/175C). Fry for 6-8 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Avoid turning many times and try to turn only when ready.
For a mix of salty and sweet, try the Vietnamese Soy Sauce Glaze
Vietnamese Soy Sauce Glaze (Nuoc Tuong)
2 tbs oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 knob ginger, finely chopped
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs fish sauce
2 tbs sugar
1 tbs oyster sauce
1/4 cup water
Fry garlic and ginger with the oil until fragrant. Add sugar, oyster sauce, soy sauce and fish sauce and continue stirring. Add water and cook for another 30 seconds.
In this video, the fish is breaded in a bag and fried as mentioned above (minus msg and pepper). Then at the end, the delicious soy sauce is made and added for a scrumptious presentation.
Korean sauce (Gajami Yang Nyeom)
1/4 cup of soy sauce
3 chopped green onions
2 chopped garlic cloves
1 green chili pepper
1 tbs hot pepper flakes
2 tsp sugar
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs sesame seeds
Simply combine all ingredients together and coat the fish before serving!
Watch this video for a play-by-play on this delicious recipe. With a peppy fun personality, the Korean chef prepares this in a kitchen from Mexico. But she easily finds all the ingredients she needs for a recipe just like home.
Thai Tamarind sauce (Pla Rad Prik):
2 oz of tamarind
1/2 cup boiling water
3 pieces coriander and root
10 red chilies
1 whole bulb of garlic
1/4 cup palm sugar
6 tbs sugar
3 tbs fish sauce
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbs oil reserved from fish fry
Pour boiling water over whole tamarind in a large bowl stir and set aside until cool enough to agitate by hand. Squeeze to separate seeds from skin and release flavoures. Strain this mixture and reserve the liquid.
Combine coriander, chili and garlic in a blender and process into small chunks. Fry this mixture with oil until fragrant.
Add your 1/2 cup of tamarind water along with sugar, fish sauce, and salt to the skillet. Bring this to a boil then reduce heat for 1 more minute. Serve on top of fish and garnish with coriander leaf.
This Thai chef shows us how to make the recipe. She deep-fries without flour —another option! Enjoy her professional straight-forward approach as this spicy tamarind sauce is prepared.
With these traditional tastes of Asia we hope you'll try them each and find a favorite! Whether you prefer salty, sweet, spicy, or all of the above, this selection gives you a good range for enjoying fried Red Snapper multiple ways. Let us know how it goes!
Food is a highlight of all of our tours. Planning for 2021 and beyond? Check out our tours in Vietnam, Thailand and Korea and taste the flavors first-hand.