Whitebait with lemon and sweet chilli mayonnaise

With just a hint of spice and lemon, Simon Rimmer lets the wonderful flavour of perfectly cooked whitebait speak for itself
By Simon Rimmer
Whitebait with lemon and sweet chilli mayonnaise
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes plus 10 minutes soaking time
  • Effort: easy


  • 450 g whitebait
  • 600 ml milk
  • 30 g flour
  • 1 heaped tsp cayenne pepper, plus extra to serve
  • oil, for deep-frying
  • 1 lemon, zest only

For the sweet chilli mayonnaise

  • purchased or homemade mayonnaise
  • sweet chilli sauce, to taste

Tips and Suggestions

If you'd prefer to make your own mayonnaise, give this video recipe a go.


1. For the sweet chilli mayonnaise: spoon some mayonnaise into a small bowl, add sweet chilli sauce to taste and stir until well combined. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside until ready to serve.

2. Put the whitebait into bowl, pour over the milk, leave for 10 minutes, then drain and discard the milk.

3. Put the flour, cayenne and a large pinch of salt into a plastic bag. Add the fish and shake to mix well.

4. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer to 175C. Tip batches of the flour-coated fish into a frying basket, shake off excess flour, deep-fry for 2 minutes, then drain on kitchen paper.

5. To serve, toss the whitebait with the lemon zest, sprinkle with salt and a little more cayenne and accompany with sweet chilli mayonnaise.

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