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Thai Grilled Fish

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This Thai grill fish recipe might be easy but it’s so good!

Getting Thai grilled fish right on the barbecue is a skill. Luckily, it isn’t a difficult skill to learn.

I used to grill fish in a barbecue fish basket but these really aren’t needed here and you will get a much more attractive grilled fish if you don’t use one.

The trick is to get your grill good and hot and not to turn the fish too soon. Turn it too early and that lovely grilled fish skin will stick!

Thai grilled fish

The green curry paste tastes so good with this Thai grilled fish.

Which fish works for this recipe?

I have used wild sea bass for this recipe, but any large fish, such as sea bream or snapper will work well too.

I always serve this with homemade Thai seafood dipping sauce. The recipe for that is at the bottom of this page.


Which Thai curry paste?

Although I used green curry paste for my Thai grilled fish, you could substitute others. I like this with red curry paste too.

I usually recommend making your own Thai green curry paste but with this recipe, you could use shop bought.

It’s a lot quicker and I’d prefer to use my homemade curry pastes in a curry.

How to make the Thai seafood sauce…

Thai seafood sauce is available in bottles from Asian shops and online.

They are good but do not compare to freshly made seafood sauce. It goes so well with this Thai grilled fish and other fish dishes.

It is also really easy to make.

How much seafood sauce you make for your Thai grilled fish is up to you. This is my recipe.

You will need…
6 green bird’s eye chillies – roughly chopped
4 – 6 red bird’s eye chillies – roughly chopped
8 cloves garlic
5 tbsp chopped coriander – leaves and stems
1 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsp Thai fish sauce
125ml (1/2 cup) lime juice
2 tbsp sugar

Chillies and garlic in a pestle and mortar

Place the chillies and garlic and a pestle and mortar and start pounding.

Adding coriander (cilantro) to the paste

Add the coriander (cilantro) and continue pounding.

Pounding paste ingredients

Pound until you have a thick paste.

Adding fish sauce and oyster sauce

Add the fish sauce and oyster sauce.

Adding lime juice to the sauce

Pour in the lime juice and stir well to combine.

Finished seafood sauce

That’s it. Your sauce is ready. Be sure to taste and adjust the flavours to your own preferences.

Now on to the Thai grilled fish!

Make slits on each side of the fish.

Prepping the sea bass for the grill

Make shallow slits on each side of the fish.

Rub the green curry paste into the slits on the fish and also inside the cavities.

Sea bass covered in the green curry paste marinade

Be sure to get the green curry paste right into the slits and inside the cavity too.

Place the fish on the grill.

Grilling the sea bass Thai style

Be sure not to turn the fish until it easily comes off the grill. About 5 minutes should do.

How to ensure you don’t lose the crispy skin to the grill.

Grilled sea bass

Never turn the fish until it easily comes off the grill.

Many people are afraid to grill fish without a fish basket.

They don’t want to lose all that delicious, crispy skin. As long as you follow my instructions, this will never be a problem for you.

When fish grills, it will easily come away from the greased grill when it is ready. If you try to turn the fish too early, the skin will stick and you will lose it.

Allow the fish to cook on one side for at least 5 minutes. You should be able to turn it with a spatula without losing any skin. If the fish is sticking, don’t force it!

Let it cook some more until the fish comes away from the grill easily.

Cooked Thai grilled fish

Place the Thai grilled fish on a serving platter and serve with the seafood sauce.

If you like this recipe, you might like to try some of these Thai favourites too…

Rice Noodle Salad with prawns and pork
Fried Calamari
Thai fried fish with garlic and chillies
Pad Thai
Thai green curry

Yield: 2

Thai Grilled Fish

Thai grilled fish


  • 2 x 1.5kg (3lb 5oz) wild sea bass, cleaned with fins removed and tail trimmed
  • 2 generous tbsp Thai green curry paste (see page XX or shop- bought)
  • 1 tsp rapeseed (canola) oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves, stalks removed and leaves finely julienned
  • 1 tbsp lemongrass, white part only, sliced as thinly as you can
  • 2 red spur chillies, thinly sliced 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
  • (cilantro)
  • Lime wedges

  • Pickled chillies
  • Seafood dipping sauce


  1. Place the sea bass on a board and score each fish 10–15 times on each side. Whisk the green curry paste with 1 teaspoon rapeseed (canola) oil and then rub this into the cavities and over the exterior of the fish. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for 1 hour, or less if you are pressed for time.
  2. Set up your barbecue for direct heat cooking. When your coals are white-hot and your hand is uncomfortably hot when held 5cm (2in) above the grill, you’re ready to get cooking.
  3. Lightly brush the grill with oil. Standing at your barbecue so that the grill irons are running perpendicular to you. Lay each fish on the grill with the cavity facing you. Cook for 5 minutes without moving the fish. Then carefully turn each fish over with a spatula.
  4. There should be no resistance. If the skin is still sticking to the grill, cook a little longer until it is no longer sticking.
  5. Once flipped, you will have two beautiful fish with nice char marks on them. Cook the other side the same way, only removing the fish when they are cooked through and not sticking to the grill.
  6. Transfer each fish to warmed plates and scatter over the julienned kaffir lime leaves, sliced lemongrass and chillies and coriander.
  7. Serve with lime wedges and for an extra special chilli hit, I recommend serving this with pickled chillies too, plus of course, my seafood dipping sauce.

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