Crisp Sweet-Sour Tamarind Fish With Tangy Thai Mango Salsa


A versatile and sustainable fish dish that doesn't compromise on flavour

This tamarind fish recipe uses snapper and many pantry staples to make a sustainable and delicious dinner. To minimise food wastage, consider swapping ingredients listed with those of comparable flavour, such as green papaya in place of green mango. We assure you it tastes just as appetising! Lime leaves can also be frozen for up to two months.


  • 1 green mango (350 g)
  • 2 medium Lebanese cucumbers (260 g)
  • 2 400 g snapper, cleaned
  • ½ cup (75 g) rice flour
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 2 long red chillies, seeded, cut into long thin strips
  • 1 cup Thai basil leaves
  • 1 cup Vietnamese mint leaves
  • ¼ cup (40 g) roasted salted peanuts, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fried Asian shallots (optional)
  • Lime wedges, to serve


  • 1 cup (220 g) caster sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) malt vinegar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) fish sauce
  • 2 tbsps tamarind puree
  • 5 makrut lime leaves, centre vein removed
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 long red chilli, chopped coarsely



To make lime caramel, combine sugar and ¼ cup (60 ml) water in a small heavy-based pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, without boiling, until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Boil, without stirring, for 12 mins or until a deep golden in colour (swirl pan gently to colour evenly towards the end of cooking time). Meanwhile, process remaining ingredients in a small food processor until a smooth paste forms. As soon as the caramel is deep golden, carefully add paste to pan; the mixture will bubble fiercely. Increase heat to high; stir sauce until toffee pieces are melted.


Peel mango; cut flesh into long thin matchsticks with a V-slicer, julienne peeler or mandoline. Transfer to a bowl. Cut cucumber into long thin matchsticks with a V-slicer, julienne peeler or mandoline; transfer to bowl with mango.


Rinse fish; pat dry with paper towel. Cut diagonal slashes in fish 2 cm apart on both sides. Place flour on a plate; dust fish in flour, shaking to remove excess.


Heat oil for deep-frying in a large wok over high heat until 180 C or a cube of bread dropped in the oil takes 15 secs to brown. Cook fish for 5 mins each side or until golden and just cooked through. Carefully transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain.


Add chilli and herbs to mango mixture; toss to combine.


Top fish with peanuts and fried shallots; serve with caramel, mango salad and lime wedges.