Whole Baked Snapper
Fish / All Seasons / Lauraine Jacobs / Serves: 6

2kg-3kg whole snapper, gutted, scaled and fins and tail trimmed
½ cup fragrant rice (basmati or jasmine), washed and drained
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 lemon, very thinly sliced
handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped, plus extra to serve
salt to taste
1 small fresh red chilli, stalk removed
6cm piece ginger, peeled
1 teaspoon each ground turmeric, coriander and cumin
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 kaffir leaves, destemmed
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons grapeseed or safflower oil
2 tablespoons water
lemon wedges to serve


Another method to cook the rice is to add the same amount of water to the rice and then cook on low for twenty or so minutes. Try not to disturb the rice, if it seems to be cooking too quickly either turn down the heat or take it off the element to rest for a while and then put it back on to finish.


Issue 132
Summer 2009

Place the rice in a saucepan with salted water to 3cm above the rice. Bring to a simmer, place the lid on and simmer until all the water is absorbed and the rice is fluffy (about12 minutes). Set aside to cool.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion until soft and golden. Add the cumin seeds, stir for a few seconds then remove the pan from the heat. Allow this mixture to cool then add the cooled rice, lemon slices and coriander. Season well with salt.

To make the spice mix place the chilli, ginger, ground spices, garlic, kaffir lime leaves, salt, oil and water in a small blender or food processor and blend to a fine paste.

Slash the sides of the fish a few times and rub the paste all over. Stuff the cavity with the rice mixture and pin the sides together with a bamboo skewer.

Place in an oven dish and bake at 180°C for 30-45 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. The thickness of the flesh will determine the cooking time so watch it carefully to prevent overcooking. (You can cook this over a barbecue, too, but the delicate flesh will need protection from the heat so wrap the fish in foil.)

To serve, place on a large platter and cut the flesh into large chunks. Do not attempt to flip the fish over; when all the flesh from the upper side is served, simply lift the frame off. Sprinkle with coriander leaves and serve with fresh lemon wedges and a large tomato salad.