Red Snapper with Chilli Glaze

Served with jasmine rice, Maria Elia's fish wrapped in banana leaves with lime and lemon grass make for an exotic barbecue
By Maria Elia
Red Snapper with Chilli Glaze
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 cm ginger, grated
  • 1 bunches coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce, Thai
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil, or grape seed/groundnut oil
  • 4 x 350 g whole Red snapper, scaled and gutted
  • 4 stalks lemongrass
  • 8 lime leaves
  • wooden skewers, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes
  • banana leaves
  • jasmine rice, to serve

For the sticky chilli glaze

  • 3 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 6 coriander stalks, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 75 g palm sugar, grated
  • 5 limes, juice only
  • 2 1/2 tbsp fish sauce, to taste


1. In a food processor, pulse the garlic, ginger, fresh coriander, ground coriander, sweet chilli sauce and salt until finely chopped. With the motor still running, slowly add the oil.

2. Place 4 large squares of banana leaf under a preheated grill or in a hot oven for 10 seconds until shiny. Remove and place on a work surface, shiny side down.

3. Cut several slashes down to the bone on both sides of each fish, and place on the centre of each leaf. Brush the spice paste into the fish cavities and spread any extra over the skin.

4. With the back of a heavy knife, bruise each stick of lemon grass and place in the cavity of each fish, along with two lime leaves.

5. Wrap the leaves over the fish to form a well-sealed parcel and secure with wooden skewers. This can be done an hour ahead of time.

6. Place the fish parcels on a pre-heated barbecue for 8-10 minutes or on a low to medium heat for approximately 10 minutes on each side until the snappers are tender. Alternatively, you can place the snappers on a griddle pan with a wire rack and cook for 10 minutes before transferring to a hot oven for 8-10 minutes.

7. For the sticky chilli glaze, place the chillies, coriander, garlic and palm sugar in a mortar and pound to a smooth paste. Carefully add the lime juice and fish sauce to taste: the mixture should taste equally sweet, sour and salty.

8. Remove the fish from the barbecue or oven and serve each snapper in its parcel drizzled with sticky chilli glaze and jasmine rice.

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