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For the Fish

Whole fish, scaled

Flaky sea salt

Oil, good quality & neutral flavoured

Fresh 'flavourings' (lemon/lime slices, Kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, fresh ginger slices all work well)

For the Sauce

½ cup sweet chilli sauce

2 Tbsp soy sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 knob of ginger, minced

1 lemon or lime, juiced

3 dashes of fish sauce (or pinch of salt)

1 heaped tsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)

Kaffir lime leaves or a handful of coriander (optional)  

For the Garnish

Fresh herbs (Thai basil, mint, coriander work best)

Sesame seeds, toasted

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. 
  2. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  3. Rinse the fish and pat dry (using paper towels works well). Cut a few evenly spaced large slits on each side of the fish.
  4. On the baking tray, drizzle the fish with oil and season generously with salt. Rub the oil & salt over both sides of the fish until it’s well covered.
  5. Fill the cavity of the fish with your fresh flavour.
  6. Place the fish in the oven. Cooking time will depend on the size of your fish. Around ten minutes per inch of thickness is a good rule to follow, for example, a small-medium tarakihi takes about 15 minutes. Make sure it’s lost its translucent appearance and don’t forget it will continue to cook when removed from the oven.
  7. While the fish is cooking, prep your sauce by blending all the sauce ingredients together using a stick blender/blender. Adjust flavours to taste.
  8. When the fish is done, transfer it to a serving plate. Drizzle the sauce, reserving some to serve on the side. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with herbs or fresh greens around the edges. 

Recipe by Harbour Fish/The Macpherson diaries