- 1 seabass (or red mullet, cod, bream or dorade)
- 2 stalks of lemongrass, bruised
- Thai basil
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- - For the salt crust:
- 100 g of water
- 2 egg whites
- 1 kg coarse sea salt
Thai grilled fish (Pla Pao ปลาเผา) must be one of my favorites when it comes to grilled fish. I remember eating it in Khao Sok national park in Southern Thailand. An amazing place, with no Internet or phone connection or whatsoever, covered by limestone mountains, the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world, breathtaking lakes and wild animals.
One evening, during our three day safari, we ate the best grilled fish ever. Really, nothing beats a salt crusted barbecued fish! The salty crust keeps the flesh inside nice and moist and succulent throughout the grilling process.
There are two main parts in a Thai grilled fish recipe: you need a whole fish (so no fish fillets please!), and you really have to make the accompanying nam jim seafood sauce (น้ำจิ้มซีฟู้ด). This sauce is incredibly tasteful as it has all these garlicky, spicy, salty ànd sour flavours in it.
Note: Eat the fish with Thai rice, the nam jim seafood sauce and a simple salad.
Preparation of the saltcrust:
- Mix all ingredients.(Yep, it's that simple!)
- The first step to is stuff the lemongrass stalks, Thai basil and crushed garlic cloves into the fish.
- Coat the skin with a thick layer of the salt mixture. (Almost like putting plaster over the fish, you know)
- Once you’ve got the fish nicely coated in a bath of salt crust, you start the grilling process, but please: aim for a low heat to cook slowly so you don't burn the fish!
- The cooking time all dependents upon how big your fish is and how hot your fire is.
- Grill the fish about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Serve the fish with Thai rice and the nam jim seafood sauce.
- Nam jim seafood sauce น้ำจิ้มซีฟู้ด recipe: tablespoons fresh lime juice, 3 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 tablespoon sugar, ½ teaspoon of salt, 15 cloves of garlic and chili to taste. Mix up well, and you're done!