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Whole Fish Fried with Basil and Chiles

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"Nothing is more stunning at the dinner table than serving a whole fried fish with a fragrant unctuous sauce. Buy a lean, mild, and flaky fish that is 10 to 14 ounces, such as tilapia, fresh water trout, or anything from the snapper family. Caution should be used when deep-frying the fish, so make sure you have plenty of room and a big pot. Serve with steamed jasmine rice."
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30 m servings 338
Original recipe yields 4 servings (1 whole fish)


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  1. Cut several angled slits along the body of the fish, cutting down to the rib bones. Cut 2 lateral slits along the back of the fish, from head to tail on either side of the dorsal fin. These cuts will ensure quick cooking and maximum crispiness.
  2. Heat oil for frying in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. Gently place fish into the hot oil and fry until crispy, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Gently remove fish from the oil and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat; cook and stir onion, red chile peppers, and garlic until lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Add fish sauce and soy sauce and remove wok from heat. Quickly stir basil and cilantro into sauce.
  5. Place fish on a large serving platter and pour sauce over fish.


  • Cook's Note:
  • To test the oil temperature if you do not have a thermometer, dip the head of the fish into the oil; if it sizzles, it is ready, if it does not sizzle, then wait a couple minutes and try again.
  • Editor's Note:
  • We have determined the nutritional value of oil for frying based on a retention value of 10% after cooking. Amount will vary depending on cooking time and temperature, ingredient density, and specific type of oil used.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 338 calories; 26.7 9.2 16.6 26 1033 Full nutrition

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