Baked Whole Fish in Garlic-Chili Sauce

While fresh complete fish is generally grilled outside in Thailand, in certain parts of North America we regularly must give you exchange cooking techniques due to weather conditions. Here’s a fish recipe that can both be baked indoors or on an outside grill. A form of white-fleshed fish may be used, which include pink snapper, gray mullet, rainbow trout, tilapia or something you’ve got it is sparkling and true. If you decide upon a greater genuine method, bake your fish in banana leaves in place of aluminum foil.

Baked Whole Fish in Garlic-Chili Sauce
Baked Whole Fish in Garlic-Chili Sauce


  • For the Sauce
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 8 to 10 cloves garlic (minced or pressed)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
  • 1 to 3 red chilies (sliced, or 2 teaspoons Thai chili sauce, plus more to taste)
  • For the Fish
  • 1 to 2 whole red snapper (gray mullet, rainbow trout or tilapia, fresh or frozen)
  • 1 handful of fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • 1 handful fresh basil
  • 4 tablespoon oil (if grilling fish)
  • Garnish: lemon slices or wedges for serving

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this fish dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Prep the Sauce and Fish

  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F or heat grill to medium.
  3. Stir all sauce ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.
  4. Place fish on a cutting board and score it by making vertical cuts an inch or more apart along the length of fish from head to tail. Turn fish over and do the same on the other side.

If Baking the Fish

  1. Place fish on a large piece of aluminum foil or banana leaf. Make sure the foil or leaf is big enough to cover and wrap the fish.
  2. Drizzle 3 tablespoons (or more) of the sauce over the fish, covering both sides. Be sure to spoon some into the cuts you’ve made, as well as into the underside cavity. Reserve the rest for later.
  3. Bring the long sides of the foil up and over the fish, scrunching it together. Try to keep the foil off the surface of the fish, making a kind of shallow tent over it. Fold up each end and scrunch to secure. If using a banana leaf, fold the sides and ends of the leaf over fish to cover it. With the banana leaf, you want the leaf to come into contact with the fish, as this adds to the flavor.
  4. Bake the fish in the foil directly on your oven rack. If you’re worried about spillage, you can place wrapped fish on a baking sheet or tray and place in the oven. Fish wrapped in the banana leaf will require a dish or tray, as a banana leaf is porous.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or longer, depending on the size and thickness of your fish.
  6. Remove fish from the oven and check some of the deeper cuts to see if the inner flesh is cooked. If fish still needs more time, return to your oven for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until cooked.
  7. To finish the fish, remove from oven and open up the foil, scrunching it around the fish to create a kind of bowl. If using banana leaves, simply open up the leaf, which will have become drier and slightly crispy. Pour remaining sauce over fish and return to the oven.
  8. Turn oven to broil setting, and broil for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the fish is nicely browned and crisp-looking. Banana leaves will become quite brown and fragrant.
  9. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the fish with fresh coriander and basil. Add lemon wedges or slices.

If Grilling the Fish

  1. Brush your grill with a little oil to keep fish from sticking (if using a fish cage, it also helps to brush it with oil).
  2. Drizzle 3 tablespoons (or more) of the sauce over the fish, covering both sides. Be sure to spoon some into the cuts you’ve made, as well as into the underside cavity.
  3. Grill fish 10 to 20 minutes (depending on the size and thickness of the fish, and how hot your grill is). Allow fish to cook for at least 5 minutes before turning it the first time – otherwise, the skin may stick to the grill and tear. Fish is done when inner flesh is opaque and no longer pink or translucent.
  4. Use remaining sauce to baste as your barbecue, or pour over fish right before serving.
  5. To serve, top with fresh coriander and basil, plus wedges of lime or lemon.
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