The grilled dried fish soaks up all the punchy flavours of the tamarind, fish sauce and cucumber juice dressing.

Average: 3.7 (9 votes)


  • 2 dried tilapia fish, about 100g each 
  • 1 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar 
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, halved lengthways, seeded, finely sliced 
  • 2 red Asian shallots, finely sliced 
  • ½ carrot, julienned 
  • 100 g pork belly, cooked, finely sliced 
  • 1 bunch rau dang leaves, plucked 
  • 1 handful mixed mint, Vietnamese mint and basil leaves 
  • 1 tsp crushed unsalted roasted peanuts 
  • 1 tsp fried garlic 
  •  1 tsp fried red Asian shallots 
  • 1 red chilli, sliced 

Sweet and sour tamarind dressing

  • 2 tbsp tamarind water 
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce 
  • 60 g shaved palm sugar (jaggery) 
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped 
  • 1 chilli, finely 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.


Combine the sweet and sour tamarind dressing ingredients in a bowl and mix until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.

Heat a barbecue chargrill or chargrill pan to medium. Chargrill the fish over a medium heat for 5 minutes on each side, or until browned. Allow to cool, then tear the flesh of the bones, discarding the bones. Place the fish in a large mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar and cucumber in a bowl and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Squeeze the juice out of the cucumber, then add to the fish, along with the shallot, carrot, pork belly, rau dang and mixed mint leaves. Dress with 1 tablespoon of the sweet and sour tamarind dressing and toss.

Transfer the mixture to a serving platter. Drizzle with another tablespoon of the dressing.

Garnish with the peanuts, fried garlic, fried shallots and chilli. Serve immediately.