We had four whole fish, not really large, each about six inches from head to tail. Speedy and I finished all four because the sauce was so rich and creamy and tasty, and it completely elevated the status of the humble fried fish.
What’s the sauce? Sauteed aromatics, spinach puree and coconut milk paste, and fish broth.
I used matangbaka (big-eyed scad / purse-eyed scad) for this dish, but you can substitute any fleshy variety.
- 500 grams fish cleaned and gutted (or use fillets, if that’s your thing)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 and 1/2 cups vegetable cooking oil for frying
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 large onion roughly chopped (see chopping guide)
- 2 large tomatoes diced
- 1/2 cup spinach puree and coconut milk paste (get recipe)
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup to 1/2 c. of fish broth (see how to make)
Rinse and pat the fish dry with a kitchen towel.
Score the fish (skip if using fillets). Rub generously with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour and shake off the excess.
Heat the cooking oil. Fry the fish until crisp and golden. Set aside.
Pour off the cooking oil, leaving only about two tablespoonfuls.
Saute the onion and tomatoes until softened. Add the garlic. Continue sautéing for another half a minute.
Add the spinach puree and coconut milk paste. Cook, stirring, just until bubbly. Pour in enough broth to make a thick sauce. Taste. Add salt and pepper, as needed.
When the sauce is bubbly, add the fish in a single layer. Cook for half a minute, flip and cook for another half a minute.
Arrange the fish on a platter, spoon the sauce over and around them. Serve hot with rice.