Jan 21, 2021

Thai Fried Red Snapper

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
The Thai dish, plaa lui suan, is traditionally served as a deep fried whole fish, however, I like this more manageable version for at-home preparations.

A filet of red snapper (or another firm, white fish like grouper or rockfish) is cut into pieces before it’s battered and deep fried until crisp. It’s then served with a spicy yet savory lime vinaigrette along with herbs and cashews.

I like using snapper because it is a very mild tasting fish, with white, delicate and moist meat. While I purchased a whole red snapper and broke it down into fillets, I would suggest purchasing the fish already cut into fillets for ease.

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Thai Fried Red Snapper

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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Serves 4


Spicy lime sauce:

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 bird's eye chilies, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon palm sugar, or brown sugar

For the snapper:

  • cups panko breadcrumbs
  • pounds red snapper fillet, cut into 2” pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Vegetable oil, as needed, for frying

For serving:

  • ¼ packed cup basil leaves
  • packed cup mint leaves
  • 1 packed cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, thinly sliced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • cup halved cashews


Spicy lime sauce:

  • In a small bowl whisk together the vegetable oil, fish sauce, lime juice, birds eye chiles and palm sugar until well combined. Set aside until ready to use.

For the snapper:

  • Add the panko breadcrumbs to a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and pulse until ground fine then add to a shallow bowl.
  • Add the flour to another shallow bowl and season it with salt and pepper, whisking to combine. Add the eggs to one more shallow bowl and beat the eggs.
  • Fill a large cast iron pan or Dutch oven with enough oil to reach 1-inch up the side of the pan. Heat the oil to 375ºF. Working in batches, toss pieces of snapper in the flour then the egg wash.
  • Toss in the breadcrumbs until coated and fry until crispy and golden brown on all sides, about 1 minute per side. Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet and remove the fried fish to the cooling rack to drain.

For serving:

  • In a medium mixing bowl toss together the basil, mint, cilantro, lemongrass, green onions, shallots and cashews together. Pour the spicy lime sauce over the herb salad tossing to combine.
  • Arrange the fried fish in a serving bowl and top with the herb salad, pouring any remaining dressing over the top. Serve immediately.



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