Another Recipe for Whole Fish with Ginger

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


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Serve this with plain, steamed rice – the ginger sauce is exotic enough on its own. The Thais and Vietnamese, unless making a specific rice dish, always eat plain, steamed rice as it has to accompany several dishes at once.

I’m often asked how long it takes to cook the fish. Apart from the obvious like it depends how large your fish is and how hot your fire is, a general rule when barbecuing or grilling is that the fish is cooked when the skin starts to blister.


  • 750 g (1½ lb) whole fish, for example, red snapper or bream, cleaned and scaled
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 spring onions, trimmed and cut into 2.5 cm (1 pint) pieces
  • 2.5 cm (1 pint) piece of fresh root ginger, finely chopped
  • 1½ tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz) chicken stock, or cold water
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind water
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour mixed to a thin paste with cold water
  • 25 g (1 oz) red or green pepper, cut into fine strips
  • 50 g (2 oz) onion, finely sliced
  • few sprigs of fresh coriander, to garnish


Wash the fish and pat dry, then with a sharp knife slash the flesh diagonally a couple of times on each side. Cook it by barbecuing, grilling, frying or steaming, until the flesh is moist and tender, about 8–10 minutes.

Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok and fry the garlic, spring onions, ginger and sugar over a medium heat for 3–4 minutes. Stir in the turmeric, stock or water, tamarind water, pepper and fish sauce, then remove from the heat and add the cornflour paste. Return to the heat and stir until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Add the red or green pepper and onion and cook for a couple more minutes. Put the fish on to a warmed serving plate, pour over the sauce and garnish with coriander. Serve immediately.