From the files of childhood favorites, my mother would pan fry a whole fish and then topped it with quickly cooked minced tomatoes (using two meat cleavers!) and spicy ginger fish sauce. I've simplified it using fish fillets. It's a favorite for the vivid colored sauce, spicy gingery bite, and crispy skin (if you can get fillets with the skin still on). This even tastes good with those bland out of season tomatoes. —HalfPint
small-diced fresh tomatoes
small clove garlic
~6-8 oz fillets (skin-on preferably, and scales removed) of any white-fleshed fish
Spicy Ginger Fish Sauce
lemon or lime juice, fresh squeezed
water, plus more if needed
grated ginger root
chili garlic sauce (tuong ot toi)
In This Recipe
For the spicy ginger fish sauce:
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings to get the heat level and balance that you prefer. You want a sauce that has a good balance between the salt/sweet/sour flavors. Set aside and make tomato sauce. This can be made a few days ahead and refrigerate.
For tomato sauce:
Heat garlic with oil in a skillet over medium high heat, ~30 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant and just turning golden. Add tomatoes (juice and all) and cook on high for about 3-4 minutes. Depending on the tomatoes, it will be watery, which is ok.
Pan fry the fish fillets in a thin layer of oil until golden and skin is crispy. Transfer to a large plate. Smother the fish with all the tomato sauce. Then top with a generous drizzle of the spicy ginger fish sauce, extra sauce can be served in a small bowl alongside the fish. Serve immediately with hot cooked rice and some sauteed spinach & garlic.