Growing up we always ate a lot of seafood in the winters. I really didn’t know why that was, but the wise men and women said that the seafood is better consumed in the months with the letter R in it.
Now that I am a grown up I had to do my own research, so I have a reason to give my children. Turns out that May thru August is the breading season for fish, so the eggs have still not matured, the fish is usually small and not plump, the shellfish is milky and so on. There is also another reason, the fact that winter blues are a real deal!.
During the winter months due to lack of sunlight and outside exposure our bodies lack the vitamins and minerals, which leads to depression and lack of energy. We also tend to get deficiency of healthy fats which are required to keep our bodies warm during the cold nights. This is where it get interesting and the seafood comes into play. Most fish are high in healthy fat content, which in return provides our bodies with the nutrition it needs to fight the winter blues. Consuming foods that are high in minerals, vitamins and healthy fats help sustain energy our bodies need to function during the winter months. So, this is why my friends the wise men and women from my family fed us a lot of seafood during the winter months.
Now, I have to admit that seafood was not as readily available in Pakistan when we were young either. Also, it was only during the cold months that it was considered a specialty, the rest of the year from March to September or even October it was highly unlikely that people would even consider making it because of how hot it was during the summer months.
Living in the United States I feel blessed that quality fresh seafood is available all year long and the varsities are unlimited. But, I am really intrigued by the thought process behind the entire consuming seafood during the winter months and will really take that into consideration.
Now, on to the point, the recipe for my Thai hot fish with tamarind chili garlic sauce. This recipe is inspired by eating similar flavors at local restaurants. I am not a big fish person, so don’t normally care to play around with it but my husband really likes fish and I am aware of the kind of flavors he really enjoys, so I make this fish for him along with my Hot and Sour soup (https://thetrippinmommy.com/2018/12/20/hot-sour-soup/), Chinese Chili Chicken (video recipe on my Instagram page) and steamed white rice or vegetable fried rice.
This recipe can be made with any fish whose skin can be fried crispy, I have tried it with red snapper and trout.
I really hope you guys give this unique recipe a try and love it as much as we do. Please don’t forget to like, comment, follow my Instagram, share with friends and subscribe.
Difficulty Level: 3
Feeds: 2-3 people
Cooking Time: 45 mins
Thai Hot Fish with Tamrind Chili Garlic Sauce
1 whole sea bass
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp white pepper
Oil for frying
For the Batter:
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup corn starch
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
Cold water 1/2 cup
Crispy fried shallots
Bean sprouts (optional)
Clean the fish, remove eyes, trim the fins and score. Marinate the fish with salt and black pepper on both sides. Use bamboo skewers to hold fish in position if you want a fancy presentation.
Heat oil for frying.
Meanwhile prepare the batter by sifting dry ingredients through a sieve, season to taste. Now make a thick tempura batter, so it sticks to the fish. Make sure your fish is evenly coated with the batter before frying.
*If the batter is too thick add a tablespoon of water at a time to bring it to the right consistency.
*If the batter is too runny keep dusting it with all purpose flour until the batter sticks to the fish.
Fry the fish crispy for 3-4 minutes per side or it may take longer depending on the size of your fish. Remove from heat.
*Top it with sauce only before you are ready to serve or the skin will get soggy. Garnish with cilantro, scallions, crispy fried shallots and bean sprouts (optional).
Tamarind Chili Garlic Sauce
1/4 cup Tamarind pulp
3-4 cloves garlic
5 dried red chili
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
3 tbs soy sauce low sodium
Salt to taste
White pepper to taste (optional)
2 tbs oil
Combine the garlic cloves and dry red chili’s in vinegar and cook them until the vinegar comes to a quick boil, turn of the heat and let them soak in the vinegar for an hour.
Later remove the red chili and garlic from the vinegar (reserve the vinegar for another application) combine with tamrind pulp and brown sugar, water and blend until smooth. In a pan heat oil and add the sauce, add the soy sauce and season to taste. Now cook until the sauce starts to thicken. Turn off the heat and let it cool.
This sauce is very versatile and can be used in many applications. Tastes great with spring rolls, tempura shrimp and chicken satay.
*Reserve the sauce in a glass container in the refrigerator.