Pla jian - fried fish

This is another simple traditional treatment for fish: this time it is 
deep fried. 

The recipe includes some minced pork: this can easily be omitted. It is 
included in this case only to reproduce the traditional taste, as in the 
past this dish was deep fried in pork fat, which transferred the pork 
flavour to the fish. Today it would more typically be fried in vegetable 
oil, hence the small quantity of pork. 

Equally traditionally this dish is deep fried in a wok: the tiny shallow 
woks foisted on western buyers by name-brand suppliers are frankly 
border line dangerous for this, so unless you have a traditional fairly 
deep wok, preferably a 20" wok or larger, I would recomend that you 
follow the dictates of caution and fry it in a deep sided skillet. 

Finally the fish is normally fried with the head on: this does, I 
believe, contribute to the flavour, but if you can't bear the fish 
starigng accusingly at you as you cook it, feel free to behead it first. 

You need a small-to-medium flat fish (pomfret, flounder, ...), cleaned, 
and with the sides slashed for the marinade to penetrate. 

--marinade ingredients

1 tablespoon chopped garlic 
3 ounces minced pork (optional, see above) 
1 small carrot, julienned 
1 tablespoon grated ginger 
2 tablespoon of sliced mushroom (preferably the black, dried Chinese 
mushroom, soaked for 15 minutes before slicing) 
1-2 teaspoon yellow bean sauce 
1 tablespoon light soy sauce 
1 tablespoon fish sauce 
1 teaspoon kapi (shrimp paste) 
1 teaspoon palm sugar 
4 tablespoons fish stock 
2 tablespoon chopped onion 
1 tablespoon sliced prik chi fa daeng (red jalapeno) 
1 teaspoon prik thai (ground black pepper) 


mix the marinade, rub into both sides of the fish, and leave it to 
stand, covered, in a cool place, in the marinade for at least an hour. 

Remove the fish from the marinade, and allow it to drain. Transfer the 
remaining marinade to a small saucepan, and add 2 tablespoons of fish 
sauce, one tablespoon of sliced prik chi fa daeng, and one tablespoon of 
grated ginger, and then simmer to reduce to a sauce like consistency. 

Heat enough oil to deep fry the fish in a suitable pan over medium heat, 
and slide the fish into the hot oil, turn once, and cook until the fish 
is cooked through. 

Serve on a platter, pouring the reduced sauce over the fish.
Special thanks to - Muoi Khuntilanont.