The combination of nuoc mam gung (ginger and lime fish sauce) and mo hanh (spring onion oil) gives this Vietnamese seafood dish a kick. Score the fish to ensure the marinate gets under the skin and serve with a fresh green papaya or mango salad.






Skill level

Average: 3.1 (14 votes)


  • 300–500 g whole snapper, cleaned 
  • 1 eggwhite 
  • 2 tbsp potato starch 
  • 1 small green papaya or 1 large green mango (see Note), finely shredded 
  • ¼ Lebanese cucumber, sliced 
  • 3 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • vegetable oil, to deep-fry

Ginger and lime fish sauce (nuoc mam gung)

  • 100 ml nuoc cham
  • ½ lime, juiced 
  • 2 tsp finely chopped ginger 
  • 1 tsp finely chopped pickled red chilli (see Note)

Spring onion oil (mo hanh)

  • 250 ml (1 cup) vegetable oil 
  • 8 spring onions, green part only, thinly sliced

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Cooling time 1 hour
Drink match 2009 Salomon Undhof Wieden Grüner Veltliner or Tiger beer

To make sauce, combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Makes 125 ml (½ cup).

To make onion oil, place oil and onions in a small pan over medium heat. When onions start to simmer, remove from heat and cool. Makes 250 ml (1 cup).

Wash and dry fish. Score each side 3 times diagonally; don’t cut through the bone.

To make batter, place egg white and potato starch in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

Fill a large wok or deep-fryer one-third full with oil. Heat over high heat to 180°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 10 seconds). Coat fish in batter, wipe off excess, then slide into oil. Cook for 5 minutes, turning halfway, or until skin is crisp and fish is just cooked.

Combine green papaya, cucumber and tomatoes with 80 ml (⅓ cup) sauce and 1 tbsp onion oil. Refrigerate remaining sauce and oil in airtight containers for up to 1 week.

Top fish with salad and serve immediately.


• Green papaya, green mango and pickled red chilli are available from Asian food shops.



Photography by Alan Benson.

As seen in Feast magazine, Sept 2011, Issue 1.