Crisp barramundi fillets with roasted chilli, mint and coriander

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 2 - 4 people

"Son in Law's barramundi fillets have just the right amount of spice and zesty lime. I'd love to serve the dish at home. Can you help?"
Jennifer Collins, Richmond, Vic

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  • 1 tbsp uncooked glutinous white rice
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf, chopped
  • 1 tsp finely chopped lemongrass
  • 1½ tbsp fish sauce
  • 1½ tbsp lime juice
  • 3 tsp tamarind water
  • 1 tsp roasted ground dried chilli, or to taste
  • 1½ tsp finely grated palm sugar, or to taste
  • Sunflower oil, for deep-frying
  • 800 gm whole barramundi, filleted with skin on
  • Seasoned plain flour, for dusting
  • 4 thin spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 small Spanish onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup each coriander and mint
  • Crisp fried shallots, to serve
01   Dry-roast rice in a frying pan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it starts to turn golden (3-4 minutes). Add lime leaf and lemongrass, and toast until golden brown (3-4 minutes). Cool, grind with a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder until medium-fine.
02   Combine fish sauce, lime juice, tamarind water, roasted chilli and palm sugar in a small bowl, mix well and reserve.
03   Heat oil in a large saucepan to 190C. Cut fish into about 12 pieces, season generously to taste, and coat in flour, shaking off excess. Deep-fry in 2 batches until deep golden brown and crisp (4-5 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
04   Toss barramundi, spring onion, Spanish onion, herbs, roasted rice and half the dressing in a mixing bowl, then transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle with remaining dressing and scatter with crisp shallots and serve.

Note Glutinous white rice, available from Asian food stores, will give the best result, but jasmine rice works at a pinch. To make tamarind water, combine 20gm (1 tbsp) tamarind pulp with 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer just until soft (2-3 minutes). Strain, discarding seeds and fibre. Makes 2 tbsp and will keep refrigerated for a week.

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