Oh woe is me, for the want of barbecued fish but lack of a barbecue.
Sympathy not forthcoming, I resolved to remedy this disaster.
I ended up making baked fish with a Thai inspired sauce (what is it with me and Asian adaptations at the moment?? Note to self, please don’t let your angmoh side start getting in control of things here. If you start adapting classics like claypot chicken rice, part of you will die inside.)
Anyway, not that it makes any of this it more acceptable, but I did note that this style of cooking = moist soft fish while retaining a nice slight char on the sauce flavours at the end.
Thai Style Baked Fish
Method from Thaifood.About.com, edited to suit the flavour I wanted.
Medium red snapper
10 cloves garlic
2 sticks lemongrass – white part only
1 small red chilli
1 green chilli
4 tablesp soya sauce
1 tablesp oyster sauce
2 tablesp fish sauce
3 teasp brown sugar
Zest of 1/4 of a large lime
Juice of 1 a large lime
A large bunch of coriander
An oven-safe dish large enough to hold your fish – to prevent drips
- Clean and scale your fish, if this hasn’t already been done.
- In a good food processor, dump in all the sauce ingredients except for the lime juice and the coriander.
- Add 80% of the coriander, reserving the rest for garnish
- Add half the lime juice
- Blend everything. Taste, and adjust lime juice and sugar as necessary.
- When you’re happy, roll out enough tin foil to encase the fish and drop the fish in the middle of it. Pack a couple of tablespoons of paste into the fish cavity. Slash the sides of the fish vertically a couple of times, and pack some paste into there too. Make sure paste coats both sides of the entire fish. Reserve a couple of tablespoons of sauce / paste for later.
- Loosely wrap the fish in the tin foil, and place in the oven safe dish. This prevents drippage and makes your life easier later on.
- Bake at 190 degrees C for around 20 minutes, adjust if your fish is bigger. Mine was a medium sized fish.
- Check if the fish is done (i.e., flesh inside the cuts on the side of the body is no longer translucent). If so, open the top of the tinfoil, pour in the rest of the sauce. Turn the oven to max / grill setting, and grill the exposed fish for around 5 minutes, or until the top reaches your desired level of charred-ness.