BBQ Whole Snapper with Maple, Lemongrass and Chilli Dressing

ServesServes 4
Preparation time Preparation time 30 minutes
Cooking timeCooking time 20 minutes


  • 1 large snapper
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind paste
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup (preferably golden colour for its delicate flavour)
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander, plus a large handful to garnish
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 red chillies, minced
  • 2 lemongrass sticks, finely sliced, plus 3 extra to garnish
  • 1 brown onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper, to season
  • 1 lime, sliced into wedges
  • 1 red chilli, sliced


  1. Use kitchen roll to pat the fish dry and make three to four diagonal cuts on one side of the fish, several inches apart.
  2. Sprinkle the surface of the fish with sea salt and set aside while you prepare the sauce.
  3. Place the water, tamarind paste, garlic, maple syrup, ginger, the half-cup of coriander leaves, fish sauce, and minced red chilli in a food processor and blitz to combine.
  4. Pour the sauce into a saucepan, add the 2 lemongrass sticks and simmer over medium-low heat for 5–8 minutes.
  5. Cover and keep warm while you cook the fish.
  6. Heat your BBQ to medium-high heat and add the fish. Grill for around 8 minutes on each side, or until the skin has browned and the flesh flakes easily.
  7. Make sure you don’t flip the fish too early or the skin will stick to the BBQ — allow at least 2 minutes before turning. Bash the extra lemongrass sticks with a rolling pin or the back of a spoon and add to the BBQ for the last 5 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, fry the onion in the vegetable oil on high heat until crispy. You could do this on the BBQ if you have a cast iron skillet.
  9. To serve, place the fish on a platter, pour over the sauce and garnish with the fried onions, fresh coriander, sliced chilli and lime wedges.

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