Tom Kime shows us how to cook this unusual fish dish. Grilled Marinated Pennang Fish with Chilli, Garlic and Ginger, served with Lemongrass and Black Pepper Dressing.


  • 2 large plaice (scaled and gutted)
  • 5 red chillies (de-seeded and finely chopped)
  • 5 cloves of garlic finely chopped (reserve 2 cloves for the dressing)
  • 1 large piece of ginger (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 4 sprigs of coriander picked (wash the roots and stems and finely chop)
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • 1 tblsp fish sauce

For the dressing:

  • 4 stems of lemongrass (finely chopped)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • roughly chopped coriander (previously picked)
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tblsp fish sauce
  • 2 limes (juiced)



  • Coriander roots are very important in Thai cooking and are used frequently to make spice rubs and the bases of curry pastes. They hold most of the flavour of the coriander plant. If the roots on the bunches of coriander are not available then use the lower part of the stems of the bunch and double the quantity
  • In a pestle and mortar grind the chopped red chilli and the garlic (reserving two cloves for the dressing). Pound the chilli with a little salt to work as an abrasive and help break down the fibrous spices.
  • Add the chopped ginger and coriander stems and work into a paste. Then add the fish sauce and the limejuice and a splash of water.
  • Take the cleaned fish and cut four diagonal slashes on each side of the fish right down to the bone. Rub the chilli paste into the slashes on both sides of the fish. Spread the paste on the skin and into the cuts on the fish. Leave to marinate while you preheat the grill and make the dressing.
  • Pre- heat an overhead grill or a char-grill. Finely chop the lemongrass and then add to pestle and mortar with the salt and the sugar to make a rough paste.
  • Finely chop the garlic with the coriander and add these to the paste. Continue to pound and add the crushed black pepper until you have a semi smooth paste. Add the fish sauce limejuice and mix until well blended
  • If using a char grill or barbecue then you will need a thin metal grid rack such as a cake rack.
  • If using an overhead grill then you will need a flat oven tray, lined with tin foil. Arrange the two plaice for either style of cooking.
  • Grill the Plaice for about 4 minutes on each side. Be careful when you turn them over so that the skin does not tear.
  • When the fish is cooked arrange on a large platter and splash the lemongrass and black pepper over the top, and then watch these two fish be devoured in a matter of minutes.
  • The slashes that have been cut into the flesh work in three ways. The first is to allow the robust spice packed paste to permeate the flesh. The second is to allow the direct heat to penetrate right to the bone, caramelising the flesh and creating a great flavour. The third is to allow easy access for all your guests to pull at the roasted flesh - leaving nothing but bare bones on a cleaned platter.