with a Hot and Sour Sauce

Serves 4

Hot and Sour Sauce

8 long red chillies, deseeded, roughly chopped

4 lemongrass stalks

4 shallots, roughly chopped

8 garlic cloves

12 kaffir lime leaves, torn

12g dried chillies, rehydrated in hot water

2 tbsp grape seed oil

4 tomatoes, skinned and finely diced

3 sprigs Vietnamese mint

juice of 4 limes

4 tbsp caster sugar


Crispy Curry Leaves

250ml canola oil

3 sprigs curry leaves


Herb Salad

2 long red chillies, finely sliced

1 bunch coriander, leaves picked

½ cup Vietnamese mint leaves

½ cup basil leaves

juice of 1 lime


Pan Fried Red Emperor

2 x 400g Red Emperor fillets

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp grape seed oil

  1. For the Hot and Sour Sauce, place red chillies, white part of the lemongrass, shallots, garlic and 6 of the kaffir lime leaves into a blender and pulse until coarsely chopped. Reserve green stem of lemongrass. Add the rehydrated dried chillies and blitz to form a smooth paste.  Set chilli paste aside until needed.
  2. Place a wok over high heat and add the oil. Add bruised green stems from lemongrass, remaining kaffir lime leaves and the chilli paste and fry until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes, Vietnamese mint, lime juice, caster sugar and 500ml of water.
  4. Simmer until the tomatoes have broken down and liquid has reduced thickened, about 25-30 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside, keeping warm, until ready to serve.
  5. For the Crispy Curry Leaves, heat the oil in a medium saucepan to 180C.
  6. Once hot, carefully place the curry leaves in the oil, as the oil will splatter a little.  Cook for 1 minute until crisp then remove with a slotted spoon. Set aside to drain on paper towel until ready to serve.
  7. For the Herb Salad, place ingredients into a medium bowl and toss gently.  Season with salt to taste and set aside in fridge until ready to serve.
  8. For the Red Emperor, cut each fillet into 2 to yield 4 portions. Place the turmeric and salt into a small bowl and stir to combine. Rub the fillets with turmeric and salt mixture.
  9. Place a large frypan onto a medium heat and add the oil. Place the fish into pan, skin side down. Fry for 3-4 minutes to allow skin to crisp, then flip the fillets over to cook on the other side until flesh is opaque and almost cooked through, about 2 – 3 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and allow the residual heat finish cooking the fish until ready to serve.
  10. To serve, spread some Hot and Sour Sauce over the base of each serving plate. Top with a portion of Pan Fried Red Emperor. Garnish each plate with a few Fried Curry Leaves. Arrange a handful of the Herb Salad to the side of the fish on each plate