2 small sized fish (about 1 kg. both together), using a fish called “pla daeng” in Thai, which is a threadfrin bream
Few pinches of salt
250 g. garlic (it was about 7 full heads of garlic)
150 g. fresh turmeric root
1 liter of oil or so – enough to deep fry the fish
The first step is to prepare your garlic and turmeric. For the garlic, just peel all the cloves (and I used the shaking pot method, which actually works quite well when you need a ton of garlic like this), and set the peeled cloves aside.
For the turmeric, chop it into small pieces and set it aside.
Next step is to take your mortar and pestle and start grinding the garlic and turmeric. I had to do little by little in many batches and then mix it up in a bowl. It should only take about 5 or 10 minutes to pound – you’re not going for a paste, but more just an oily mixture of crushed garlic and turmeric. Alternatively you could use a food processor or blender, just don’t make it too smooth.
To prepare your fish, you want to make sure it’s already de-scaled, and also that the insides have been removed – you can either do it yourself, or it might be easier to have the butcher do it when you buy it.
Take the fish, and you want to make three diagonal slices on the fillet of the fish, make sure you cut through the skin, but don’t go too deep into the flesh.
Next you’ll need a big bowl or basin and go ahead and put the fish in.
Take some salt, and give each of the fish a small sprinkle on both sides, and rub your hands over the salt to make sure it’s spread evenly over the skin of the fish.
Grab the turmeric garlic mixture and start piling it onto the fish, all of it. You can gently massage the fish, mostly to make sure every part of the fish is coated in orange goodness. Also, take some of that turmeric and garlic and really stuff it into the slits we made in the side of the fish – this will ensure the flavor gets embedded in the fish.
Set aside the fish, and leave it to sit for about 10 – 15 minutes.
While you’re waiting for the fish to marinate for a few minutes, you can prepare your oil for deep frying.
Turn on your stove to a medium heat and add about 1 liter of oil (however much you think you need) to your pot or wok.
We’re going to fry the fish first, and then the garlic and turmeric, so first shake off all the garlic and turmeric from the fish, and leave it in the basin for later (this is because the fish will take longer to fry, so we’ll fry the fish first, then the garlic and turmeric after).
Make sure your oil is fully hot, and then gently slide the fish into the oil carefully. They should immediately start to sizzle up and bubble.
Fry the fish for about 5 – 8 minutes on each side, but it will really depend on the size of your fish – so if your fish is bigger you’ll need more time. While it fries, make sure you carefully scrape the bottom of your pan with a spatula to make sure your fish doesn’t stick.
When your fish looks nice and golden brown on the bottom side, it’s time to flip it over, and again, fry it for about 5 – 8 minutes on the other side.
Keep monitoring your fish closely, making sure it doesn’t stick.
When the fish is brown and golden, and you think it’s fully cooked through, take it out of the oil, and set it in a strainer to drain.
Now we’re going to fry the garlic and turmeric. Keep your stove on a medium heat, a carefully drop in all the garlic and turmeric. It will probably bubble up, then settle down.
Slowly and carefully stir with your spatula, making sure nothing sticks and the garlic and turmeric is fries nice and evenly.
The garlic and turmeric will probably take about 5 – 10 minutes to fry. You want to make sure it turns dark golden in color, and you’ll be able to feel the crispiness with your spatula.
When the garlic and turmeric is done, strain it all out, and let it drain for a few minutes.
Take your fried fish, put it on a plate, and then pile on all the fried garlic and turmeric.