This dish is highly popular all over Thailand, in restaurants as well as at street stalls. It's often prepared with freshwater fish but we highly recommend you to use saltwater fish such as red snapper, sea-bass or barracuda.
500 g whole fish (such as red snapper) or 300 g fillets
2 fresh red chillies, chopped
2 fresh green chillies, chopped
1 coriander root
2 cloves garlic
4 shallots, finely sliced
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons tamarind juice
2 tablespoons fish stock
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
garnish : coriander leaves, fresh red chilies cut in fine strips
Grill, bake or deep-fry the fish if using a whole fish. If using fillets, deep-fry for about 2 minutes, then drain on kitchen paper.
Pound coriander root and garlic to make a paste. Set aside.
In a saucepan, add vegetable oil and stir fry chillies, garlic paste and shallots over medium heat until it releases the flavors (about 2 minutes). Add sugar, fish sauce and tamarind. Stir 1 minute. Pour in stock. Stir and simmer for 2 more minutes. Add lime juice and taste to adjust the seasoning
Place fish on a platter and cover it with sauce. Decorate with coriander leaves and fresh chilies.
Variant with sweet and sour pineapple sauce :
In that variant with use fish fillets. Stir-fry the fish fillets, on skin side only, in a large pan, until half-cooked. For snapper fillets, half cooked would be about 3 minutes. Then take the fillets off the pan and set aside.
Sauce : pound 3 garlic cloves with 1 teaspoon white peppercorn and 2 coriander roots until you achieve a smooth paste. Stir-fry this paste with 2 sliced fresh red spur chilies, 100 g diced pineapple and 80 g diced red pepper in the pan previously used for the fish fillets. Add seasoning : 1.5 tablespoon tamarind juice, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 0.5 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar. Mix well. Taste to adjust the seasoning.
Add the fillets on top of the sauce (carefully, not to break them), cover with a lid and cook 3 more minutes on low heat. Serve immediately.