It's important to make sure the fish is as crisp as can be for use in this salad.
- Shredded flesh of ¼ mature coconut (see below)
- For deep-frying: vegetable oil
- 500 gm barramundi fillet, cut into 8 pieces
- 1 green mango, shredded on a mandolin
- 1 bunch mint, shredded
- 1 bunch Thai basil, leaves picked
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 4 golden shallots, finely chopped
- 6 dried red chillies, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes, drained, finely chopped
- 30 gm dried prawns, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes, drained, finely chopped
- 10 gm piece galangal, finely grated
- 40 gm light palm sugar, pounded
- 2 tbsp lime juice (about 1 lime), or to taste
- 30 ml fish sauce, or to taste
- 1 tbsp tamarind pulp (see note)
- 1For 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.
- 2Preheat oven to 180C. Scatter coconut on an oven tray lined with baking paper, roast until light golden, stirring occasionally (10-15 minutes), set aside.
- 3Heat 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.
- 4Deep-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.
Drink Suggestion: Crisp, off-dry riesling. Drink suggestion by Max Allen