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Thai Fried Fish (Pan-Fried or Deep-Fried)


Pan-Fried Fish
Copyright Darlene A. Schmidt, 03/17/10
This Thai Fried Fish is so delicious, you're sure to love the results! Any firm, white-fleshed fish fillets can be used for this recipe - cod is excellent, as is snapper, halibut, talapia, or whatever is available where you live. The fish is slathered with a Thai spice paste, then either pan-fried or deep-fried (it's great both ways). Finish the dish with a sprinkling of fresh coriander, and serve with a simple Thai condiment (recipe included here). This dish involves a number of steps, but I find the results are well worth it. ENJOY!

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: SERVES 2-3


  • 2-4 white-fleshed fish fillets, enough for 2-3 people (snapper, cod, talapia, etc...)
  • 1/2 cup compressed cup chopped fresh coriander/cilantro, leaves & stems
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, cut into slivers with scissors (available frozen at Asian stores), OR substitute 2 tsp. lime zest
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 5-6 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. sherry or cooking sherry)
  • oil for frying (I used coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1-2 tsp. white sugar (to taste)
  • 1 fresh-cut red chili, minced, OR 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili (from the spice aisle)


  1. In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the 'flour mixture' ingredients and stir. Set aside.
  2. Combine the condiment ingredients in a cup or small serving dish. Taste-test, adding more fish sauce if you'd like it saltier, or more chili for more heat. If too sour, add more sugar (this condiment should taste tangy and spicy, a balance between sour and sweet). Set aside for serving.
  3. Place prepared coriander, lime leaf, green onion, garlic, fish sauce and sherry into a mini food chopper or processor. Blitz well to form a fragrant green paste. (A pestle & mortar also works well for this.)
  4. Slice fillets into workable pieces (in Thailand they are often cut into 2-3 inch segments). Rinse fish and pat dry, then set in a dish with the spice paste. Slather the fish pieces with the paste until well covered.
  5. Keeping as much of the paste on fish as possible, transfer pieces to the flour bowl. Use a spoon to 'bury' the fish in the flour, then patting down gently. Two or three pieces can be set in the flour at a time.
  6. To Pan-Fry: Place 3 Tbsp. oil in a frying pan or wok and set over high heat. When oil starts to bubble, gently set floured fish in pan. Reduce heat to medium. Fry 1 to 1+1/2 minutes per side, then gently turn. Fish is done when both sides are golden-brown and fish has turned firm. Plate up and serve hot from the pan. Add more oil to the pan before frying the next batch.
  7. To Deep-fry: Add enough oil to a frying pan or wok in order to cover the fish pieces (at least 1 inch deep). Heat oil over high heat until a bread crumb fries easily when dropped in. Carefully set prepared fish in the oil and fry both sides until light golden-brown. Reduce heat as you fry to medium or slightly above. Drain on a clean towel or paper towel.
  8. Serve fish hot from the pan with rice and the condiment you made (great spooned over fish just before eating!). ENJOY!

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