Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pla Tod Saam-Rod / Fried Whole Fish with Three-Flavored Sauce

 It’s the whole shebang!

It’s the whole fish!

Growing up in Thailand having to eat the whole fish by myself was always a treat!

I love eating fish that still has bones attached. It’s always a challenge, fun, and enjoyable when picking through trying to get the most juicy and sweet meat off without the tiny bones get caught in my throat.
Have you ever done that before?    It’s not a good thing to brag about but I did that so many times! Have I learned a lesson?   Yes! I’ve learned to be more careful next time eating whole fish!

Fish including flesh and bones are edible when fried whole to its most crispiness. I usually leave nothing on a plate when eating fried fish, not even the fish head!   Well, that would be over exaggerated...there are surly some hard bones that should NOT be eaten. 

Whenever I’m having fried whole fish for dinner, the hubby would look at me with awe and says, “Poor fish!”     I just thought it’s hilarious!

***Please do not try this at home if you're not used to eat whole fish with bones

Anyhow, whole fish can be prepared in many ways in Thai cuisine and Pla Tod Sam-Rod is one of many whole fish dishes that Thai people love to eat. This dish might look intimidate to you just by looking at the picture, but the cooking method is as easy as making cupcakes from the cake mixed box. I swear!

If you don’t like fried fish, bake it. No big deal and it’s healthier, too. And if eating the whole fish is not your thing, fish fillets work just as wonderful as whole fish, if not better. I cooked this way just wanted to show you how it’s done in Thai cooking.

Cook the fish in whatever way you like which might take about 10-15 minutes depends on your method and the size of the fish. While the fish is cooking, make the sauce. It takes only 5 minutes max to have the sauce ready for the fish bath.

 And for the record, as wicked as I am, I ate the whole thing by myself!

 It was soooooo goooooood!

What you need: for 1 or 2 servings

 Step 1 – Fry the fish:
  • 1 medium (16 oz.) Red Snapper, cleaned - ( or use fish of your choice)
  • 1-2 cups vegetable oil to fry fish

  • Cut three angle on each side of the fish to the bone so the fish cook faster when fry
  •  Heat the oil in the frying pan or wok on low-heat
  •  Fry fish about 8-10 minutes (depends on the size of your fish) on each side or until it looks crispy. When the fish cooked through, put in the warn very low-heat oven to keep the fish warm while making the sauce.
** Instead of fry fish, it can be baked or steamed


Step 2 – make the sauce:

1 tbsp tamarind paste
2 tbsp palm or light brown sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp Asian chili garlic sauce, or fresh chopped Thai chili
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp finely minced garlic
1/4 cup finely minced shallots
1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, finely sliced (option but recommended)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
A handful of cilantro leaves

How to:

  •  Whisk together tamarind paste, brown sugar, fish sauce, water, and chili garlic sauce. Set aside.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil on the medium sauté pan over medium-heat.  When the oil gets hot, add garlic and shallots and cook until they fragrant, then add the sauce mixture. Let it cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add ginger and chopped bell pepper and cook until the sauce get thicken, with consistency of syrup-like, for about 4-5 minutes. It should have a taste of the combination of spicy, sweet, and sour. Adjust the taste for your liking
  • Pour the finished sauce over fried fish and top with cilantro leaves.
  • Serve immediately with steamed jasmine rice.



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