There are so many things to love about the cuisine of Thailand. Curries of all colors, noodles of all shapes and sizes and beautifully garnished platters served with fresh herbs. Satays and barbeques loaded with exotic flavors. Don’t forget the seafood. Lots and lots of seafood. Today we’re going to make a Thai spiced white fish that’s pan fried until it’s crispy on the outside and perfectly cooked in the middle.
I chose a fish dish because we came across some hake in the fish market. The fishmonger cut the fish into loins and I finished trimming the pieces when we got home. We had enough for two people plus some pieces that will be used to make a chowder later on.
All of the spices used to season the fish should be readily available. In fact they’re commonly used in other cuisines. The only one I had difficulty finding was the ground coriander. I ended up having to buy the seeds and grinding it in my mortar and pestle.
The secret to frying the fish is to cover the bottom of the pan with oil and heat it until it shimmers. You should hear the fish sizzle when added. Then don’t fiddle with it until you see the color begin to change on the sides of the pieces, about a minute or two. Then flip it and cook for another minute or so. It should be crispy on the outside and flaky on the inside. In other words, perfect.
One of the hallmarks of Thai cuisine is the balance of flavors: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and spicy. The spice mix provides three of the five. A little lime juice squeezed onto the cooked fish takes care of the sour element and you can serve a sweet chili sauce or something similar on the side for dipping.
We served our Thai spiced fish with some stir fried bok choy, a dish for another post.
Be sure to visit Simple Living and Eating to see more Thai food cooked up by a group of bloggers who also love to explore the world via its cuisine. Feel free to join the link up if you have a recipe you’d like to share. Also, the recipe I used to cook today’s fish is available from About.com. If you’re a fan of Thai food, you’ll love browsing the website.
- About a pound of hake, cod or other firm white fish; filleted and cut into fingers or nuggets
- Oil for frying (I used sunflower oil)
- lime for squeezing over the fish
- parsley or cilantro for garnish
- ¼ cup cornstarch or tapioca starch, divided
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Mix the spice mix together and set aside.
- The fish should be dry. Use a paper towel to blot it if necessary
- Mix half the cornstarch and half the spice mix on a paper plate.
- Dredge the pieces of fish through the mix, shake the excess off and arrange on a plate.
- Replenish the mix as necessary. If you have any spice mix left over you can dust the pieces with it before or after frying.
- Heat oil in a heavy bottom skillet until shimmering. Add the fish in batches and fry for a minute or two on each side.
- Drain on paper towels.
- Squeeze the lime juice over top of the fish and garnish with freshly chopped parsley or cilantro before serving.