Spicy Grilled Whole Ocean Perch

This dish can be made with any whole fish or fish fillet; snapper is particularly good. There are a few ingredients, but once you get them together, the preparation is simple. It’s nice to get the barbecue going for this dish as well.

Ingredients

  • 1 × 500–600 g (1 lb 2 oz-1 lb 5 oz) whole ocean perch
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/¾ cup) coconut milk
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer leaves removed, bruised and cut into 2 cm (¾ inch) lengths
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 small handful of coriander (cilantro) leaves

Spice Paste

  • 6 long red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 3 red shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 coriander (cilantro) roots, scraped and chopped
  • 1 finger of fresh turmeric, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • finely grated zest of 2 limes

Method

Pound all the spice paste ingredients in a mortar with a pestle until you have a fine paste. Or use a blender to process the ingredients, adding a little water if necessary.

Make a few deep cuts in the thickest part of the fish. Turn over and repeat on the other side. Rub half the spice paste all over the fish and leave to marinate for 30 minutes.

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok until almost smoking. Add the remaining spice paste and stir-fry for about 5 minutes until fragrant. Add the coconut milk and lemongrass and simmer for a few minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with the lime juice. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

Heat a barbecue or grill until hot and cook the fish for about 5 minutes on each side, or until just cooked through. Put the fish on a serving plate, spoon the sauce over and sprinkle with coriander leaves to serve.