This Burmese recipe for crusted whole barramundi uses quite a few chillies, so it will be hot, but you can adapt it to suit your tastes. The easiest option is to cook it on a barbecue.






Skill level

Average: 4.4 (17 votes)


  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 3–4 garlic cloves 
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ginger, chopped 
  • 8 chillies (medium hot to taste)
  • 3–4 saw leaves (thorny coriander)
  • 2 kg whole barramundi or snapper 
  • banana leaves or aluminium foil, for wrapping
  • 1 lemon or lime, juiced, plus extra to serve (optional)
  • 1 cube dry stock
  • 150 g chopped mixed herbs (spearmint, false mint, basil leaves and coriander)
  • 1 tsp olive oil

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.


Using mortar and pestle, crush  coriander seeds, garlic and salt. Then add ginger, fresh chilies and saw leaves and pound to a paste. With a sharp knife score the fish on each side, about 1 cm apart and 5 mm deep.

Place the fish on banana leaves if available or aluminium foil. Squeeze the lemon juice over both sides of fish then rub the paste well into both sides and some inside the belly of the fish.  Sprinkle the dry stock across the fish. Chop the remaining herbs and spread over the fish. Drizzle with a little oil then wrap firmly in the banana leaves or foil to make a parcel.

Cook one side for 15 minutes over the grill, or barbecue, then turn to other side and cook for another 15 minutes or it can be cooked in oven for 20 minutes. Squeeze fresh lime or lemon again prior to serving, if you like.