Chefs' Recipes

Three Blue Ducks' barbecued whole fish with lemongrass and lime leaves

This might just be the best way to cook a whole fish.

By Darren Robertson & Mark LaBrooy
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 10 mins cooking (plus marinating)
  • Serves 6 - 8
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"This dish is all about a flavour-packed paste," says Three Blue Ducks chef-co-owner Darren Robertson. "Ginger, garlic, coriander roots and loads of citrus - all smashed up together and spread over the fish."
**Watch: Darren Robertson shows how to reinvent all that leftover Christmas ham


  • 100 gm long green chillies (about 5), coarsely chopped
  • 60 gm ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 50 gm thinly sliced lemongrass (about 2 stalks, white part only), plus extra to serve
  • 40 gm garlic (about 10 cloves)
  • 20 gm makrut lime leaves, very thinly sliced, plus extra to serve (1/3 cup)
  • Coriander roots (from 1 bunch), washed, dried and chopped, plus leaves to serve
  • 2 spring onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely grated palm sugar
  • 4 whole snapper (500gm each), scaled and gutted
  • 60 ml grapeseed oil (¼ cup)
  • Juice of 1 lemon and 1 lime
  • Sliced pickled chilli, to serve (see note)


  • 1
    Pound chilli, ginger, lemongrass, garlic, makrut lime leaves, coriander roots, spring onion, palm sugar and 2 tsp sea salt with a large mortar and pestle, or blend in a blender to a paste, then add oil and mix to combine.
  • 2
    Slash both sides of each fish 4-5 times with a sharp knife, then rub marinade all over and inside the cavity. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours to marinate. Remove from fridge 20 minutes before cooking to come to room temperature.
  • 3
    Heat barbecue or a char-grill pan to medium-high heat and lightly oil grill or pan. Barbecue fish until charred and just cooked through on one side (5-6 minutes). Turn and repeat. Season to taste, squeeze lemon and lime juice over, scatter with lemongrass, lime leaves, coriander and pickled chilli and serve.


Note The Ducks use the pickled chilli from the pickled rhubarb recipe; otherwise buy pickled chillies from select delicatessens. Drink Suggestion: Zesty young dry riesling. Drink suggestion by Max Allen