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Whole snapper roasted with curry flavours

A whole roasted fish is a stunning addition to the table no matter the season. Here, we've rubbed the skin with a mix of warming spices that are well-suited to cooler temperatures.

By Brigitte Hafner
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 45 mins cooking plus marinating
  • Serves 4 - 6
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"Fish cooked on the bone has so much more flavour and moisture than fillets," says Brigitte Hafner. "This recipe is for one large snapper that you can put in the middle of the table. It's really fresh and goes well with a green mango salad or stir-fried spinach with ginger and garlic and some coconut rice."


  • 1 large (about 3.4kg) snapper, cleaned and scaled (see note)
  • Lime wedges (optional) and steamed rice (optional), to serve
Curry paste
  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 3 long red chillies, seeds removed, coarsely chopped
  • 15 gm ginger (about 3cm), coarsely chopped
  • 5 gm turmeric (1 small piece), coarsely chopped
  • 5 coriander roots and stems (roots scraped), coarsely chopped
  • 1½ lemongrass stalks (white part only) finely chopped
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¾ tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1½ tbsp mild-flavoured extra-virgin olive oil


  • 1
    For curry paste, blend ingredients (except olive oil) in a food processor with a large pinch of salt to a smooth paste, transfer to a bowl and stir in oil to combine.
  • 2
    Rinse snapper, pat dry with paper towels, and score deeply on both sides four times with a sharp knife. Rub all over with curry paste and refrigerate for 30 minutes to marinate.
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 175°C and line a roasting pan with baking paper. Roast snapper in pan until just cooked through (40-45 minutes; the flesh should pull away from the bone near the head, which is the thickest part). Rest for 5 minutes and serve with rice.


If a large snapper won't fit into your oven with the head attached, ask your fishmonger to remove it for you, as we've done.
Drink suggestion: Fragrant dry gewürztraminer. Drink suggestion by Max Allen.

  • undefined: Brigitte Hafner