Fried Fish with Thai Dipping Sauce

Thailand’s long coastline naturally means that fish have played a major role in its cuisine. Indeed, Thai cookery has made a supreme art of transforming the most common seafood and fish into glorious foods.

Here, fish is simply pan-fried in the wok until golden brown and crispy. It is then served in a zesty sauce that can be made hours ahead. I find this dish goes very well with rice.


  • 2 x 225-g (8-oz) or 1 x 450-g (1-lb) whole flat white fish, such as Dover sole or plaice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Potato flour, cornflour or plain flour, for dusting
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) groundnut oil

For the Dipping Sauce

  • 2 fresh red chillies, seeded and finely shredded
  • 3 tablespoons finely sliced shallots
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce


Dry the fish well. Evenly salt and pepper each side of the fish. Dust the fish well with potato flour, cornflour or flour, shaking off any excess.

Make the dipping sauce by combining the chillies, shallots, lime juice and fish sauce in a small bowl.

Heat a wok or large frying-pan over a high heat until it is hot. Add the oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, turn the heat down to moderate. Add the fish and slowly brown. Turn the fish over and cook and brown the other side. Remove the fish and drain on kitchen paper. Place the fish on a warm platter and serve at once with the dipping sauce.