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Whole chilli and lemongrass sea bream

Whole chilli and lemongrass sea bream

Published: August 20, 2017 at 10:45 am
  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Total time
    • plus marinating
  • Easy
  • Serves 4

Our recipe for delicately soft barbequed sea bream, with a fiery chilli and punchy lemongrass marinade, makes for a great summer BBQ. In Phu Quoc and coastal regions of Vietnam, huge tanks of live fish and shellfish are a common sight in markets. Customers barter for what they want, choose a marinade and dipping sauce, and it all gets cooked on a huge charcoal grill in minutes

  • Low calorie
low inkcal300

Try our whole sea bream BBQ fish recipe, then check out our BBQ prawns, ultimate BBQ sauce and BBQ chicken wings.


  • 2 whole (700g each) sea bream, cleaned
  • 8 stalks lemongrass, halved lengthways


  • 6 (3 deseeded) red chillies, chopped
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 thumb-sized pieces ginger, grated
  • 4 limes, zested and juiced
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce


  • STEP 1

    Put the marinade ingredients in a food processor and whizz to a smooth paste.

  • STEP 2

    Put the sea breams in a large bowl or roasting tray and pour over the marinade, making sure they are well covered, both inside and out.

  • STEP 3

    Leave to marinate in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

  • STEP 4

    When you’re ready to cook, heat the barbecue to medium-high (or for oven cooking, see below).

  • STEP 5

    Tear 2 sheets of foil big enough to enclose a whole fish and lay them slightly overlapping.

  • STEP 6

    Lay 8 lemongrass halves in the centre, put a fish on top with half the marinade from the dish and season well.

  • STEP 7

    Bring each side of the foil up, scrunching together to make a tight seal.

  • STEP 8

    Repeat with the other sea bream.

  • STEP 9

    Cook directly on the coals for 25-30 minutes with the lid down until cooked through.

Alternatively, heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 and cook the fish on a baking tray on the lemongrass halves and in a foil parcel (as above) for 30-35 minutes until cooked through.


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