AT A GLANCE
|01||Preheat oven to 200C. Rub fish with 3 tsp sea salt, place on a lightly oiled wire rack in a roasting pan. Roast until golden (30-40 minutes), cool, transfer to a food processor, pulse until fish resembles fine crumbs (don’t over-process or the fish won’t puff when fried).|
|02||Meanwhile, for coconut dressing, spread coconut on an oven tray and roast, stirring occasionally, until golden (3-4 minutes), set aside. Dry-roast prawns until crisp (1-2 minutes), finely chop, set aside. Combine sugar, maltose, chilli, garlic, coriander root and 125ml water in a saucepan, bring to the boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat to medium and simmer until syrupy (15-20 minutes). Remove from heat, add fish sauce and vinegar, discard coriander root, cool to room temperature. Process in a food processor until smooth (1-2 minutes), add coconut, prawn and ginger, season to taste, set aside.|
|03||Preheat oil in wok to 170C. Add a handful of fish (be careful as hot oil may spit). It will immediately form a raft or nest. Pull fish toward you with a slotted spoon, then, when oil stops bubbling, turn and fry until golden (3-4 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on absorbent paper, repeat with remaining fish.|
|04||Combine watermelon and coconut dressing to taste in a bowl, toss lightly to combine, arrange on serving plates, scatter with fried shallot, basil and crisp fish and serve.|
Note Maltose (also known as malt syrup) is available from health food shops and select Asian supermarkets.