Thai Baked Fish

During our driving holiday my youngest son, William, met some fishermen early one morning who spent quite some time showing him the various fish heads they had for bait.  They showed him how to open the fish’s mouth and he saw a number of different types of fish teeth and tongues. He was intrigued and has been begging me ever since to buy a whole fish.  On Saturday I bought a beautiful snapper from the markets. Will was very excited when I arrived home with it.  I let him have a little play with the mouth and the fins before preparing it for dinner.

Thai Baked Fish
based on recipe on

1 whole red snapper
Generous handful fresh coriander
Lemon slices
Tin foil


4 tbsp oyster sauce
4 tbsp soy sauce
8-10 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp lime or lemon juice

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
  2. Stir all marinade/sauce ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Place fish on a cutting board and score it by making vertical cuts an inch or more apart along the length of fish from head to tail. Turn fish over and do the same on the other side.
  4. Fill the fish cavity with fresh coriander and lemon slices.
  5. Place fish on a large piece of tin foil. Make sure the foil or leaf is big enough to cover/wrap the fish.
  6. Drizzle 3 tbsp (or more) of the marinade/sauce over each fish, covering both sides. Be sure to spoon some into the cuts you’ve made, as well as into the underside cavity. Reserve the rest for later.
  7. Bring the long sides of the foil up and over the fish, scrunching it together. Try to keep the foil off the surface of the fish, making a kind of shallow tent over it. Also fold up each end and scrunch to secure.
  8. Bake the fish (in foil) directly on your oven rack. Or – if you’re worried about spillage, place wrapped fish on a baking sheet or tray and place in the oven.
  9. Bake at 200 degrees for 30 minutes or longer, depending on the size and thickness of your fish.
  10. Remove fish from oven and check some of the deeper cuts to see if inner flesh is cooked (it should be opaque, not pink or translucent-looking). If fish still needs more time, return to your oven for another 8-10 minutes, or until cooked.
  11. To finish the fish, remove from oven and open up the foil, scrunching it around the fish to create a kind of bowl.
  12. Pour remaining marinade/sauce over fish and return to the oven. Turn oven to Grill/Broil setting, and grill for 5-8 minutes, or until the fish is nicely browned and crisp-looking (like barbecue fish). I skipped this step but would definitely do this next time.
  13. Remove from the oven. Add lemon wedges or slices to serve.

I served this up with steamed asparagus, broccoli and carrots and Jill Dupleix’s Goosefat potatoes.

Deliciously moist and full of flavour.

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