This whole roasted fish with Asian flavours & nuoc cham is so easy and can be adapted to any medium-sized white-fleshed fish. I used silverfish here, but any sustainable alternative fish species will work well.
If you live in Cape Town and are like me, craving really fresh seafood then you are in luck. We have a plethora of wonderful seafood home delivery options these days but the most special is from Abalobi. This is an incredible seafood initiative that sells fish directly from the fisherman to the consumer via an app. So from hook to cook in a matter of a few clicks.
They were normally only supplying the restaurant industry but with COVID-19 and the lockdown, they have shifted to selling fish directly to consumers in certain areas in Cape Town. I love that the fish travels along a transparent supply chain and is fully traceable back to each small-scale fisher who gets a fair price.
They focus on fishing sustainable species and lesser know fish like these Silverfish or Carpenter. They sent me two fish to experience the system and have fun in my kitchen. I roasted them whole with punchy Asian flavours of lime, ginger, garlic and soy with a delicious nuoc cham sauce to drizzle over. I made a quick green papaya salad to serve on the side but as these ingredients are difficult to come by, you could just make an easier Asian slaw or other salad of your choice.
After ordering your fish via the App, you will receive prompts and WhatsApp’s alerting you to when the fish will be delivered. When it’s on route, you will receive a call asking you to meet the delivery person at your gate. The fish is delivered packed in ice with zero wasteful polystyrene packaging and you area sked to take it out and put it in your own container. The delivery person practices distancing and sterilizers the container the fish comes. It is so fresh (was literally swimming the day before) so there is zero fishy smell. In fact, I only cooked it 2 days after delivery and it was still completely fresh.
Recipe – Whole roasted silverfish with Asian flavours
Whole roasted fish with Asian flavours & nuoc cham
- 2 x whole gutted and scaled carpenters/silverfish or other sustainable white fish species
- 4 sprigs coriander
- 2 garlic cloves sliced
- 1 lime or half a lemon sliced
Garnish: (all optional)
- Crispy fried shallots store-bought
- Sliced spring onions
- Fresh coriander
- Lime wedges
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- Small piece of ginger grated
Nuoc cham dipping sauce
- 3 Tbsp tbsp fish sauce
- 3 Tbs tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 Tbspfresh lemon juice
- 50 gm caster sugar
- 1 long red chilli finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F and line a baking tray with parchment. Cut a few diagonal slits into the flesh of the fish and mix up the basting ingredients. Liberally brush the fish with this basting inside the cavity and on either side making sure to get into the grooves.
- Fill each cavity with 2 sprigs of coriander, a sliced garlic clove and a couple of slices of limes. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 25 minutes until cooked.
- While the fish is roasting mix up the nuoc cham sauce and make the salad.
- Serve the fish whole on a platter garnished with crispy onions, sliced shallots/spring onions, fresh coriander and the nuoc cham drizzled over and served on the side.
Papaya salad – you could follow my recipe here or just simplify it by using shredded papaya and carrots and sprinkle over sliced spring onion or shallots, fresh coriander, basil (or Thai basil) and mint leaves, and chopped up roasted salted peanuts. You could also scale up the nuoc cham dipping sauce as above and use some of that to dress the salad. Or here is a recipe for a delicious easy Asian slaw and dressing.
*This recipe would work with a variety of fish species
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