Whew. It is HOT in Sydney right now. And humid. Like sweat dripping down your back, uncomfortable hot sticky weather.
I’m currently really regretting two things about our otherwise great apartment:
- It’s West facing (hello afternoon sun)
- No air-con
I really didn’t think air-con would be a big deal as it’s well ventilated. I clearly failed to account for hot afternoons where we need to have the blinds down to block the sun.
There’s no ventilation then. None.
JD and I have been coming up with weird and wonderful ways to beat the heat. We ended up resorting to going to the shops one day, which given JD’s strong dislike of any type of shop is really demonstrating the lengths we’ve been going to!
Today we are tucked up in the back room in the dark sweating away together. Romantic!
These long hot days trigger memories of travels long ago through South East Asia.
Searing heat and humidity.
T-shirt and hair stuck to you.
Pungent, curious aromas and spicy dishes.
Locals who are just getting on with it while all the tourists wimper into their beers.
There’s something about sweating over a spicy dish in hot weather that takes a person back to basics. It’s all consuming and almost animalistic. A gritty challenge punctuated with deep breathes and laughs. Intensely rewarding yet you often wonder why you put yourself through it and end up scavenging dark sweaty alleys looking for ice-cream!
This fish & green mango salad is one of those dishes, sharply flavoursome and a wonderful balance of spicy, sweet and bitter.
Ever since enjoying my first papaya salad in Thailand I’ve been a huge fan of the sharp fresh taste of the under ripe fruit made aromatic and eye-wateringly spicy by the combination of dried shimp, chili and lime.
I always wanted to make it at home, but could never seem to get my hands on green papaya. Well that’s still the case, but I did manage to find green mango.
This dish is inspired by a recipe I found on Gourmet Traveller, but lightened up with Vietnamese Nuoc Cham style dressing. It’s bloody good and perfect for chowing down on a hot humid summers day.
I used green mango in the salad however feel free to use papaya instead if you can find it. If both elude you then try it with julienned cucumber (discard the seedy centre).
While I like the original recipe, I found the chilli sauce to heavy and sweet for the fish and the preparation a bit cumbersome if I’m honest. A quick dish is a good dish in my opinion.
And as much as I love trawling through Asian supermarkets, sometimes you don’t want to have to decode every ingredient. If you’re on the same page then this dish is for you.
I used barramundi because it’s a nice firm fish that holds up well to pan-frying, however it definitely makes this a more expensive dish. The main reason I choose it was because the options at my local fishmonger were limited at the time I was there (early morning).
If you’re looking for more information on making cheaper or more sustainable seafood choices have a read of this post. In this particular dish you could reduce the cost dramatically by using mullet, whiting or mahi mahi. Either of the first two options would bring this recipe under $10.
- 500gm Barramundi (or other firm white fish)
- 1 green mango, julienned (can substitute green papaya or cucumber)
- 100gm bean sprouts
- 25gm coconut flakes
- 1/2 bunch Thai basil
- 1/2 bunch Vietnamese mint
- 4 shallots, finely sliced
- 20gm plain flour
- 1 tsp Chinese five spice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 2-4 red birdseye chillies (depending on how spicy you want it)
- 60 ml water
- 60 ml fish sauce
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp castor sugar
- Combine water, fish sauce, lime juice, vinegar, castor sugar, garlic and chilli in a jar. Shake well until sugar is dissolved and set aside
- You can use a julienne peeler or mandolin to shred the green mango. Or if you have neither finely slice it and cut into matchsticks
- Place the mango in a large bowl with the bean sprouts, shallots and coconut flakes. Toss together and pile onto serving plates
- Combine the flour and Chinese five spice in a bowl
- Chop the fish into decent sized pieces (about 3cm chunks)
- Dip the fish in the flour mixture and shake off excess
- Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan
- Pan fry fish for 3-5mins each side depending on thickness until crispy and just cooked
- Serve fish on top of salad and drizzling with half the dipping sauce. Serve remaining sauce at the table so people can add as desired
- Cook the fish in two batches if you can't fit it in your pan
- You may have some sauce leftover. It will keep for a few days in the fridge and is a fantastic dipping sauce for spring rolls, rice paper rolls or dumplings.
- Calories 337
- Carbs (gm) 29
- Fat (gm) 10
- Protein (gm) 35
- Fibre (gm) 4