Hot and Sweet, Crispy Fried Sea Bream

Today’s post is made possible by the enthusiastic collaboration of Kay Ecker, Shinae Nae and Selina Howe who supplied invaluable advice on purchasing and frying the fish.  Thanks ladies!   Good ole girls!

Kay, Shinae, Selina and I spent some time debating the type of fish that would be best for this recipe and had narrowed it down to red snapper or sea bass, depending on what was fresh at the fish market.   I explained what I needed to my friendly fish monger and he pointed me towards this lovely, fresh, fresh Sebaste or sea bream weighing about 2 lbs. Of course, he removed the unsightly insides and scaled the fish, cause he knows Rose don’t play that 🙂  Wok too small, this would be a job for the “Big Black Skillet”.

My husband is coming home from Southern Sudan for 7 days on October 23rd and I’ve already made a list.  I’ve purchased 6 enormous shelves for the garage and told the stove care giver that after one day of rest and relaxation, my husband will need help assembling the shelves and arranging the boxes to finally be unpacked after over a year. The boxes were on my mind today because there is a cookbook in one of those boxes that has an excellent sweet and sour sauce recipe for fish, light and not too sweet, that I did not use today because it’s in one of the hundreds of boxes in the garage, somewhere. Instead I found an interesting Thai, hot and sweet sauce on Tes at Home that “did the job”.

This sauce was quite fun to make.   You had to make the Thai Chilli Sauce first and I was quite excited about it.

The chilies that we used looked hotter than they were.   In fact, Jade and I thought they were chilies for babies.  We laugh in the face of hotness.   Ha, ha, ha.

I have to admit that the Big Black was not quite big enough for the 2 lb fish.  I stressed as I held the fish head out of the oil to cook the tail section.  But guys, it was so beautiful.  I will make this again but with a bigger skillet or smaller fish.  I do not like to stress when cooking.   It’s fun or it’s not!

The fish went really well with the noodles I bought from the Vietnamese lady in the market but could go as well with rice.

Hot and Sweet, Crispy Fried Sea Bream

1 2lb sea bream



Peanut oil

1 red onion, thinly sliced

4 green chillies, sliced

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

3 inches ginger, sliced

2 tbsp sunflower oil

1/2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce (see below)

1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce

1/2 cup chicken broth

Cut 4 diagonal slices in each side of the fish and rub with salt, then allow to set for 15 minutes before coating with flour.  Set aside.

Fry the onion, chillies, garlic and ginger in the sunflower oil until the onions are soft.   Add the Thai sweet chili sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce and chicken broth.   Boil for 2 minutes and keep warm.

Deep fry the fish in the peanut oil on both sides until golden brown.

Thai Sweet Chili Sauce 

12-15 small red chillies pounded into a paste

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tsp salt

1/4 cup  water

Put everything in a sauce pan, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool. Store in the refrigerator.

Completely gratuitous cat picture.

About cookinginsens

An American living in Burgundy, France
This entry was posted in Cooking, fish, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, Thai and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Hot and Sweet, Crispy Fried Sea Bream

  1. ceciliag says:

    My goodness. That is magnificent. I am going to copy this recipe and take it to NZ next time i go home. I know I can get a good big fresh fish out there. Really this is a masterpiece!.. c

  2. Kay says:

    Wow, Rosemary, just wow! You did an incredible job! I love your Halloween Kitty, I think he wants to lick the bones:-)

  3. Hate to be a the one, but that’s no sea bream, it’s a Sebaste. Sebaste is akin to Rascasse, the heart of bouillebaise. Sea bream is Dorade, but that recipe looks like it worked a treat on your fish. I think you’ll find, Roger, that nobody likes a clever dick.

  4. Fay says:

    Maybe I do not get out enough, but I have not seen fish prepared this way in the States. Showed The Old Man these photos, and he said he had eaten something similar in Singapore. There the restaurant presented the fish by curving it on the dish, giving the effect of a swimming fish. That must have been a large fish to take that shape.

    • I had almost the same thing in a Sichaun Chinese restaurant in Bangladesh. I’ve heard that the food in Singapore is fantastic! Would have loved to see that fish.

  5. Sens, this is my favourite of your posts thus far – though the fish is technically ugly, the dish itself is wonderfully presented, photographed and beautiful. Yummy! Cool cat too.

  6. Shinae Nae says:

    Fantastic, Rosemary. I want to eat that whole fish by myself. The food, the photography – stellar!!!

  7. Juls says:

    I’ve never had sea bream with noodles but the flavourings and pictures make me really want to! And that’s one awesome looking cat 🙂

  8. chillininja says:

    This looks like a feast. Really like your use of Chillies. Sounds like you and Jade have a high tolerance for the heat! Have you tried cooking with something more ferocious like Scotch Bonnets or the searing African Chilli the Fatalii!
    I have a lot of home grow Chillies maturing at them moment so I think the Thai Sweet Chili Sauce you made will be perfect to try. Thanks to you and Tes.

  9. I had trouble reading this, my eyes kept wondering back and forth between all the pictures and I was almost drooling. Katherine and I looked at it together. Very impressive. Glad your husband will be home soon.

  10. Tessa says:

    Beautiful fish! And thanks for sharing the recipe for the Thai chili sauce. I have relied on the store bought stuff for years.

  11. Isabel says:

    The photos are as delicious as the recipes themselves…
    But if you can, share more photos of the cat! He/she is beautiful! 🙂

  12. Pingback: Ten foods to avoid on a first date « Fish Seeks Bicyle

Leave a Reply