Jimmy Barnes shares his recipe for whole fried snapper dressed with fresh coriander and served with a spicy Thai sauce.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (7 votes)


  • 2 whole plate-size baby snapper or bream, cleaned and scaled
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • canola oil, for frying
  • banana leaves and coriander sprigs, to serve


  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 coriander roots
  • 2 long red chillies, roughly chopped
  • 2 long green chillies, roughly chopped
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3-4 limes, juice
  • sugar, to taste

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.


  1. For the sauce, place the garlic, coriander roots, chillies and a good pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle and pound until a paste forms. Stir in the fish sauce, limes juice and sugar to taste.
  2. Cut three slashes in the thickest part of each fish on both sides. Rub both sides of each fish with fish sauce.
  3. Fill a large wok one-third full with oil and place over high heat until 180°C. Gently lower the fish into the oil, one at a time and cook for 4 minutes on each side or until just cooked through and golden. Drain on paper towel.
  4. Serve the fried fish on a banana leaf with the dressing and coriander sprigs over the top.


Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Adam Liaw.