Thailand has more Fresh Fish markets and seafood restaurants than one can possibly imagine. This super recipe comes from Chef Sayun Sugkaw of Tong Kao restaurant,courtsey of Martin Yan.A suggest fish is whole Sea bass or red snapper but any whole fish of your choice will work too.
2 walnut -size shallots,finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh Thai chile
1 teaspoon minced cilantro stems
1/4 teaspoon white peppercorns
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup tamarind water
1/4 cup water
11/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1(1-11/2 lb )whole fish,such as Sea Bass or red snapper,cleaned
1/4 cup cornstarch
Vegetable oil,for deep -frying
6 slices ginger,each the size of a quarter,julienned,for garnish
Basil sprigs,for garnish.
To make spice paste,with a mortar and pestle,pound shallots,garlic,chile,cilantro,and white peppercorns into a juicy paste. Scrape into a bowl and stir in water.
To make sauce,in a bowl combine coconut milk,tamarind water,water and fish sauce.
Across each side of fish,cut diagonal slits 3/4 inch deep. Dust fish with cornstarch.
In a wok,heat oil for deep frying to 350 degrees. Add ginger and deep fry until golden,about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Increase heat to 375 degrees. Deep fry fish,turning once,until golden brown and flesh is opaque,6 to 8 minutes each. remove fish and drain on paper towels. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the deep frying oil into a small pan and heat over medium heat. Add spice paste and cook,stirring,for 2 minutes. Add sauce,decrease heat,and simmer for 5 minutes.
To serve,place fish on a serving plate and pour sauce on top. Garnish with ginger and basil sprigs.