Thou shall have a fishy on a little dishy…..

Chilli, ginger and lemongrass marinated whole baked fish with coconut roasted vegetables. A whole fish on the table is definitely a showstopper even if it is a total pain to dish out!

The whole family of in-laws are now in residence for Christmas so the normal routine of menu planning and buying the weeks shop at the Friday morning famers market has been suspended. This meant we could go the market with fresh minds rather than trying to plan a menu around what seasonal product we expect to find there. This morning we found some large and exceedingly shiny looking snapper so we picked two to feed the horde. I grabbed some lemongrass, ginger and chillis (local of course) to create a Thai inspired marinade. I was going to cook them on the barbeque but we suffered tropical showers all day we thought we would stay inside for the evening so they were whole roasted in the oven instead.

Serves 4


200ml coconut milk

2 chillis (deseeded if you don’t like the heat)

1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 lemongrass stalks

4 cloves of garlic

20g piece of ginger

juice of 1 lemon

juice of 1 lime

2kg whole fish, gutted, de-scaled and fins cut off

1 Red pepper

1 Large onion

1 Aubergine

200g pumpkin or butternut squash

1 cup Coriander (to garnish)

Lemon wedges (to garnish)


Pre heat the over to 180°C. Peel the garlic and ginger and roughly chop along with the white parts of the lemongrass and chillis. Add these to a (small) blender along with 100ml of the coconut milk, citrus juices and fish sauce, blitzing until you have a reasonably smooth paste to marinade the fish.

Rinse the fish, pat dry with paper towel and smear the marinade over both sides of the fish reserving a couple of tablespoons.


Cut the vegetables into strips and put them in a baking tray big enough to  fit the fish in. Mix the remaining 100 ml of the coconut milk in with the vegetables and roast in the oven for 30 minutes stirring once after 15 minutes.

After the 30 minutes is up, place the fish on top of the vegetables and roast for 20 to 30 minutes. Cooking time does depend on the size of your fish and how temperamental your oven is, turn the fish halfway through cooking and spread the reserved marinade over it. With a knife insert into the thickest part of the fish and gently pull the knife to the side, if the fish flakes nicely then it is done, if it does not flake or is translucent looking then give it a little longer.


Serve with basmati rice or small roasted skin on potatoes ands a lemon wedge, sprinkle over the chopped coriander.

Variations: you could use any firm fleshed white fish but tuna steaks would also work well, marinaded and pan fried or barbequed. I particularly like the way that aubergine soaks up the coconut but you can use carrots, green veg like brocilli, sweet potato, whatever veg you like to roast.


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