Crisp Fish, Green Mango and Roast Coconut Salad



  • Shredded flesh of ¼ mature coconut (see below)
  • For deep-frying: vegetable oil
  • 500 gms barramundi fillet, cut into 8 pieces
  • green mango, shredded on a mandolin
  • 1 bunch mint, shredded
  • 1 bunchThai basil, leaves picked

Sweet and sour chilli sauce

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • golden shallots, finely chopped
  • dried red chillies, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes, drained, finely chopped
  • 30 gms dried prawns, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes, drained, finely chopped
  • 10 gms piece galangal, finely grated
  • 40 gms light palm sugar, pounded
  • 2 tbsp lime juice (about 1 lime), or to taste
  • 30 mls fish sauce, or to taste
  • 1 tbsp tamarind pulp (see note)


Step 1  For sweet and sour chilli sauce, heat oil in a saucepan over high heat, add garlic and shallot and stir occasionally until light golden (5-10 minutes). Add chilli, prawns and galangal and fry until fragrant (5-10 minutes). Drain (reserve oil) and pound in a mortar and pestle until coarsely ground. Return to saucepan with remaining ingredients (adjust seasoning to taste) and stir over high heat until reduced to jam consistency (3-5 minutes), then stir in reserved oil, remove from heat and set aside to cool. Makes about 375ml. Chilli sauce will keep refrigerated for 2 weeks.

Step 2  Preheat oven to 180C. Scatter coconut on an oven tray lined with baking paper, roast until light golden, stirring occasionally (10-15 minutes), set aside.

Step 3  Heat oil in a deep-fryer or wok to 180C. Add barramundi and deep-fry until golden and crisp (4-6 minutes; be careful as hot oil will spit). Fish may break up as it cooks; this is normal. Drain on absorbent paper, break into small pieces and transfer to a bowl. Add roast coconut, green mango, mint and half the sweet and sour sauce, toss to combine, then transfer to a plate.

Step 4  Deep-fry half the basil (optional) until crisp (10-20 seconds; be careful as hot oil will spit), remove with a slotted spoon and scatter over salad with remaining fresh basil. Serve warm with a extra sauce to the side.

Note For tamarind pulp, soak fresh tamarind in hot water, then strain it to remove fibres and seeds. Alternatively, use half the quantity of a good-quality pulp concentrate from an Asian grocer.

Mature coconuts are sold with the outer shell and outer husk removed; the inner husk is brown and hairy. They contain a small amount of liquid and a crunchy white flesh used for making coconut milk and cream. Mature coconuts are available from supermarkets and Asian grocers. To open a mature coconut, pierce two of the eyes (we used a screwdriver) and drain the liquid. Tap firmly around the circumference with the back of a large knife, rotating the coconut with each tap until the shell cracks open. If the coconut smells fermented or the flesh isn’t pure white, it’s a bad nut.

Source:   Gourmet Traveller

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