It's important to make sure the fish is as crisp as can be for
use in this salad.
Shredded fleshof ¼ mature coconut (see below)For deep-frying:vegetable oil500 gmbarramundi fillet, cut into 8 pieces1green mango, shredded on a mandolin1 bunchmint, shredded1 bunchThai basil, leaves pickedSweet and sour chilli sauce2 tbspcoconut oil6garlic cloves, finely chopped4golden shallots, finely chopped 6dried red chillies, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes, drained, finely chopped30 gmdried prawns, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes, drained, finely chopped10 gmpiece galangal, finely grated40 gmlight palm sugar, pounded2 tbsplime juice (about 1 lime), or to taste30 mlfish sauce, or to taste1 tbsptamarind pulp (see note)
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.
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.
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.
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 extra sauce to the side.
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.