Caramelised Claypot Fish with Native Pepperberry

Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

Caramelised fish

400g bass grouper or bar cod cutlet or salmon

60g rice flour, for dusting

1L vegetable oil, for frying

Salt & pepper

160g caster sugar

60g banana shallot, roughly chopped

50g garlic, roughly chopped

30g ginger, finely sliced

15g long red chilli, finely sliced

30g light soy sauce

25g fish sauce

250g coconut water

2 tsp black peppercorn, crushed

½ tsp native pepperberry, powdered

2 spring onions, to garnish

1 tbsp Fried shallots, to garnish

Crispy pork lard

200g pork back fat

40ml vegetable oil

Caramelised Claypot Fish with Native Pepperberry

Method

Season both sides of the fish cutlets generously with salt and pepper. Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes for flavours to permeate.

In the meantime, heat up the vegetable oil to 180°C. Once the fish has had its 15 minutes, lightly dust with rice flour then deep fry in the vegetable oil for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from oil and allow the fish to drain on paper towels or a rack.

Set aside until ready to use.

In a clay pot or a heavy based saucepan with a lid, heat up the sugar on low heat with 80ml of water.

Once the sugar has melted, turn the heat up to high and bring the sugar syrup to a boil.

After 5-7 the sugar will start to caramelise around the sides. Keep cooking until the whole mixture turns golden brown or when the syrup reaches 165°C. Once the sugar is caramelised, add the banana shallots, garlic and long red chilli.

Cook for 1-2 minutes to soften the vegetables.

Now add the soy sauce, fish sauce, coconut water and both peppers. Bring to the boil.

Once boiling, add the fish to the pan then turn the heat down to a simmer.

Cook with the lid on for 15 minutes then using a spatula, flip the fish around and cook on low heat with the lid partially on for a further 15 minutes.

Remove the lid then turn the heat up to high to reduce the caramel to a sticky consistency.

Remember to baste the fish with the sauce as it reduces.

Garnish the fish with crispy pork lard, finely sliced spring onions and fried shallots then spoon some pork fat over the fish. Serve with steamed rice or salad.

For the crispy pork lard:

Dice pork back fat into 1cm cubes.

Combine the pork fat and oil in a small saucepan and cook on low to medium heat until the fat renders from the pork and you end up with beautiful golden brown crispy lard pieces.

Remove the lard from the oil and drain on a paper towel. Allow to cool and set aside until ready to use. Both the lard and the rendered pork fat will be used to garnish the fish.