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Ben O’Donoghue Thai Whole Fish BBQ Recipe


  • 1 whole fish (up to 2 kg). A snapper is used here, scaled and cleaned (ask your fishmonger to do this)
  • 5 tablespoons thai chilli paste in soya oil (bought)
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, very finely sliced, to garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves to garnish
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges to garnish


  • 5 coriander roots, washed and chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 5 thai pink shallots, peeled
  • 1 birdseye chilli
  • 1 tablespoon minced turmeric or turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground white pepper
  • 3–4 tablespoons fish sauce to taste
  • 2–3 tablespoons lime juice to taste
  • ¼ cup coconut cream (skim off the top of a cold can of coconut milk)



Using a sharp knife, cut incisions along both sides of the fish, about 1cm apart.


To make the marinade, place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Rub the fish with the marinade and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes while you prepare your barbecue for direct cooking over a medium–high heat.


Put the fish onto a sheet of baking parchment and place over direct heat and cook for 8 minutes on one side, then turn the fish over on the paper and cook for another 8 minutes.


Meanwhile, warm the chili jam with a little water to make a brush able paste. When the fish has cooked, brush the fish liberally with the chili jam paste and cook for a further 1–2 minutes on each side.


Remove the fish from the basket. Brush with any remaining jam and serve garnished with kaffir lime leaves, coriander and lime wedges.

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