The reason I like leatherjacket for this classic dish is that it has a really simple bone structure so it’s easy to eat. You could use sole, ocean perch, snapper, or in fact any fish you like. I also like to deep-fry the fish fillets in a light batter and drizzle this sauce over the top.
To make the paste, pound the coriander roots, sea salt, chillies, garlic and shallots in a mortar with a pestle until you have a fine paste. Or use a blender to process the ingredients, adding
Heat a wok until almost smoking. Add
Toss the leatherjackets with the remaining fish sauce and leave for 10 minutes. Heat the oil in a wok or deep-fryer until just smoking (180°C/350°F), and deep-fry the fish in batches until golden brown and cooked through, then drain on paper towel.
Arrange the fish on a platter and drizzle with the sauce. Crumble the chillies and the basil and sprinkle them over the fish to serve.
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