Caramelised Fish with Galangal

Shop Ingredients
Serves 6


3-4 Mackerel fillets, 2-3 cm thick
3 red Asian shallots, finely diced
2½ tablespoons fish sauce
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1½ tablespoons sugar oil, for frying
150 ml coconut milk
3 cm knob of galangal, peeled and cut into thin strips
1 long red chilli, cut into 5 mm rings pinch of freshly ground black pepper, extra
4 spring onions, sliced
½ handful coriander sprigs


  1. Combine the mackerel with the shallots, 1 tbsp of the fish sauce and the pepper and set aside to marinate for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, put the sugar and 1½ tablespoons water in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and then cook until the sugar is a rich golden colour. Pour in 250 ml of water, standing away from the pan. When the spluttering has stopped, stir until the caramel sauce is smooth.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and brown the mackerel on both sides. Add the caramel sauce, coconut milk, galangal, chilli and remaining fish sauce. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat.
  4. Transfer the fish and sauce to a clay pot or casserole dish, cover and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for a further 4–5 minutes.
  5. Serve the fish in the clay pot, sprinkled with the extra pepper, spring onions and coriander, with a bed of white jasmine rice.

You can order organic galangal and ginger when in season, along with many other groceries from our webstore.

Hints and Tips

Recipe by Tracey Lister & Andrew Pohl in 'Vietnamese Street Food' blogged by social enterprise Streat. Available from Readings Bookstores.


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  1. Where can I get galangal? I see it in lots of yummy asian foods and lots of yummy-sounding recipes like this one… any hints?

  2. Sorry Maria we haven’t been able to source certified organic galangal grown in VIC yet. It’s a typically tropical and sub-tropical plant, so it’s more likely than not that any you can buy in Melbourne will be from further afield. I would try your local green grocer or health food store (if it has a fresh produce section). We’re always on the lookout though, so if you do find a local organic supplier feel free to let us know. We try to stock what people request if we can get it 🙂 I’ve looked at some online forums and it seems you might be able to grow your own in warmer months if you have a warm spot spare. Hope that helps!

  3. It says to combine sugar and water – how much sugar?

    There is only: 1½ tablespoons sugar oil, for frying in the ingredients list

    1. Hi Ashleigh, it doesn’t actually say does it. Based on the small amount of water I would try dissolving a couple of teaspoons, and add more if it isn’t sweet enough as it cooks down to a sweet caramel sauce. I’m sorry I don’t have this original recipe, so it is just a guess. If I come across this cookbook I will look it up for you and correct the post!