Be sure to watch the step by step video below of this Thai salt crust fish.
This is one of my favourite ways to prepare fish. Thai salt crust fish might sound a bit strange to some but it is so good. For best results, ask your fishmonger for unscaled fish.
The skin isn’t eaten and the scales add an extra layer for keeping the moisture in.
In this case, I wasn’t able to get unscaled sea bream but the results were still out of this world gorgeous!
Thai salt crust fish can be made with sea bream or any similar fish such as sea bass. This is a fantastic and easy way to prepare seafood as the salt helps keep the moisture in the meat.
This leaves you will super tender and moist meat that is to die for. I love to pick the meat right off the bones and top it with the spicy, sweet, savoury and sour seafood dipping sauce.
Thai salt crust fish might be really simple but with that seafood sauce, it takes it to a whole new level.
The 40 minute cooking time is important. This is done over a really low heat. If you have a Kamado Joe, using the heat deflectors will help with this.
You could also do this on any barbecue. Just keep the heat down. Mixing the hot coals with ash will help keep the heat down.
Turn the fish regularly so that it browns nicely on both sides.
While the fish is cooking, you can prepare the seafood sauce.
As with all Thai food, it is important to taste as you go so that you get the perfect flavour combination for your tastes.
Add the salty, sweet, spicy and sour ingredients and then adjust as you go.
- FOR THE FISH
- 2 large whole sea bream (about 1 kilo, 2 lbs each) – cleaned but not scaled
- 280g approx. (1 cup) course sea salt
- Water as needed
- 10 kaffir lime leaves or one thinly sliced lime
- FOR THE SAUCE
- 6 green bird’s eye chillies – roughly chopped
- 4 – 6 red bird’s eye chillies – roughly chopped
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 3 tbsp coriander – leaves and stems
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 125ml (1/2 cup) lime juice
- 2 tbsp sugar
- Salt if needed
- Pour the salt into a bowl and mix it with just a tablespoon or two of water until it is fluffy and slightly moist to the touch.
- Start rubbing the salt all over the fish, pressing down slightly to help it stick. Flip the fish over and do the same on the other side.
- Stuff with the Kaffir lime leaves in the cavities. Use fresh Kaffir lime leaves if you have them but sliced limes will work almost as well.
- Set up your BBQ for direct heat cooking. It is essential that your coals not be too hot.
- Grilling fish over hot direct heat would normally only take about 8 – 10 minutes. You want to slow this down so that the fish cooks slowly. Turn the fish often.
- The cooking process over the low heat should take about 40 minutes so adjust the heat accordingly.
- Meanwhile, prepare the seafood sauce. Place the chillies and garlic in a pestle and mortar or food processor and pound or blend to a chunky paste.
- Add the remaining ingredients and taste. Add more sugar and/or a little salt if desired.
- After about 40 minutes, your bream should be cooked through and blackened slightly in a few places but not char grilled. You should still be able to see the white salt
- To serve, place the fish on a warm platter. Peel the skin off the fish. Sometimes I use scissors or a sharp knife to help remove the skin. Cut into the meat and dip away!