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Thai Fried Fish with Garlic and Chilli Sauce

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Thai fried fish with garlic and chilli sauce

Thai fried fish with garlic and chilli sauce!

This Thai fried fish is amazing! Really… if you’ve haven’t tried fish served in this way, it’s time you did. So good!

Although I frequent Thai restaurants often, the fish dishes weren’t what I went for from the menu. I seemed to play it safe and went for those dishes I knew I liked such as Thai green and red curry. Not anymore.

While I was travelling through Thailand, I saw beautifully presented fried and steamed fish being served at so many restaurants and street food stalls. I had to give them a try.

I’m so glad I did. Recipes like the Thai fried fish with garlic and chilli sauce have opened my eyes to a whole new (new to me anyway) selection of fish dishes.

Thai fried fish

You could be enjoying this delicious and easy fried fish tonight!

Working ahead.

You can make the sauce a few hours before serving an then just heat it up. The frying of the fish, however should be done right before serving.

This Thai fried fish recipe really is so simple. Look! There are so few ingredient but it really tastes amazing.

Top Tips.

If you have a deep fat frying with a basket, use it. This helps to keep the fish in an S shape should you wish to do so.

You could actually just shallow fry the fish in a pan but deep frying is faster.

Although you might have tried my many Indian recipes with finely chopped garlic, you don’t want to go there with this one. The garlic should be cut quite roughly as shown.

Getting this recipe just right for you.

Cooking perfect Thai food is all about tasting as you go! This is so important to get it right. Taste the sauce and ensure that the sourness, spiciness, saltiness and sweetness is right.

You can always add more chillies for heat, tamarind for sourness, fish sauce for a more savoury flavour and sugar if you prefer the sauce sweeter.

Just look at how easy it is to prepare this Thai fried fish!

Making slits in the skin

Score the fish about six times on each side at a 45 degree angle.

Dusting the fish with flour

Dust the fish lightly on each side and inside. Brush off any excess flour.

Fish positioned in S shape

Position the fish in an S shape. This is optional but helps the fish sit as if swimming on the plate.

Deep frying the sea bass

Fry for about 8 minutes at 185c/365f or until crispy brown and cooked through.

The sauce can be made earlier in the day. I made mine after I fried the fish. It only takes minutes.

Making the chilli and garlic sauce

Fry the garlic and chillies for about three minute until beginning to soften.

Finishing the sauce

Add the sugar, tamarind paste and fish sauce.

Fish fried with chilli and garlic

I can’t wait to make this one again!

Thai fish fry

Dig in!

Fish fry

The skin and flesh or so crispy. No batter needed!

Love Thai food? Try some of these delicious recipes!

Thai Green Curry
Thai Red Curry
Beef Massaman Curry
Chicken Satay and peanut sauce
Steamed Sea Bass with Garlic and Lime Sauce
Tom Yum Gai
Tom Kha Gai
Hot and Sour Prawn Soup
Pad Thai

Yield: 1 - 2

Thai Fried Fish with Garlic and Chilli Sauce

Thai fish fry
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes


  • One large whole sea bass
  • Flour for dusting
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed (canola) or peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp garlic – roughly chopped
  • 1 long red chilli
  • 2 red bird’s eye chilies
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar or white caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 2 – 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 spring onions – cut into 2.5cm (1 inch) pieces
  • 1 tbsp coriander (cilantro) finely chopped


  1. Place the fish on a cutting board and slice about six shallow slits at a 45 degree angle down each of the sides.
  2. Dust the fish lightly with the flour inside and out. If you can't eat wheat flour, you could use fine rice flour. You just want to lightly dust the fish which will make it crispier when fried.
  3. Heat your oil to 185c/365 and completely submerge the fish in the swimming position in an S shape.
  4. Fry for about 8 minute until cooked through and crispy and then transfer to a paper towel to soak up the excess oil.
  5. Now make the simple, quick sauce. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. When hot add the garlic and chillies and fry for about 3 minutes being careful not to burn the garlic.
  6. Stir in the palm sugar. If you can't get palm sugar, normal caster sugar will do fine. Now add the tamarind paste and fish sauce. Stir well to combine.
  7. Bring to a simmer and then turn off the heat. Check for seasoning and adjust the sweetness with more sugar or the saltiness with more fish sauce.
  8. Place the sea bass upright on warm plate. Cover with the Thai chilli garlic sauce and garnish with spring onions and coriander.

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