500 g thick white fish fillet, skin removed
80 g rice flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil, for frying
4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
3 small green chillies, finely sliced
2 tablespoons salted dried radish, rinsed in cold water
200 g palm sugar, shaved
80 ml fish sauce
3 small tomatoes, peeled then pureed
2 green mangoes, peeled and finely shredded
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
50 g bean sprouts, trimmed
3 tablespoons Asian or Thai basil leaves, torn
2 tablespoons shredded long-leaf (saw-tooth) coriander
Cut the fish into 2 cm chunks and dust with rice flour, salt and half the pepper.
Heat enough oil for deep-frying in a wok to 180°C and deepfry the fish chunks in small batches for 3 minutes until golden. Remove and drain on paper towel.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and cook the garlic and chilli until fragrant. Add the dried radish strips and fry for another minute. Remove from the heat and add to the cooked fish.
Combine the palm sugar and fish sauce in a saucepan and cook until it becomes a rich caramel colour (add a little water if necessary), then add the tomato puree and stir to combine. Simmer for a few minutes, then season with the remaining pepper and add the fish. Toss to coat evenly and simmer gently for a few minutes to heat through.
Remove from the heat, toss through the remaining ingredients and serve.
By Christine Manfield from "Fire & Spice" (Penguin Aus, 2012).