Last November when Devaki from the beautiful blog, Weave of a Thousand Flavors, came to San Francisco, we took her to one of our favorite restaurants in town, the Slated Door. That visit, we tried a dish that I had not had before: deep fried whole branzino served on a bed of a thick sweet-and-sour sauce. Thanks Chef Charles Phan! This fish was ultra fresh, fried to perfection, crisp on the outside with a yummy flesh inside. Mmmm!!! We (me) actually ate everything, bones and cheeks included, and wiped the sauce off the plate with our fingers. Delish!
So this is my attempt to reproduce the dish at home. The branzino at Sun Fat was farm raised in Greece, so instead I bought wild caught red snapper from the Pacific. Much better.
The sauce from the restaurant, as I recall, was a simple combination of tamarind concentrate and spices. I think that my version’s close. I used a mix of tamarind concentrate and a tamarind-date chutney I found at a local Indian market. The list of chutney ingredients includes tamarind concentrate, dates, salt, sugar, chili and black peppers. Just the thought of it makes my mouth pucker happily lol
We served this for New Year’s Eve with fragrant herbed basmati polow.
fried red snapper with tamarind date sauce
2 red snappers weighing about 2½ lbs each, cleaned
rice flour for dusting
oil for frying
slices of cucumber
for tamarind date sauce:
4 tbsp tamarind paste
3 tbsp tamarind date chutney
Rinse and dry fish, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dust in rice flour and fry it in hot oil for about 8 minutes on each side or until crisp. Remove from pan to a dish covered with paper towels to drain any excess oil. I served the tamarind date sauce on the side after I got worried that the guests might not like it. My original idea was to drizzle the fish with the sauce. Silly me because we all loved it! This was another great tasting and satisfying meal.