Recipe courtesy of Luke Nguyen

Crispy Fried Elephant Fish with Ginger Fish Sauce: CA Tai Tuong Chien Xu

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 38 min
  • Prep: 10 min
  • Inactive: 20 min
  • Cook: 8 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons fish sauce

3 tablespoons white vinegar

4 ounces water

4 tablespoons fresh ginger, julienned

1 tablespoon chopped chile

1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic (about 3 cloves)

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 (1 1/2 pounds) whole elephant fish, unscaled (or snapper, scaled)* (See Cook's Note)

Vegetable oil, for frying (about 4 cups)

3 sprigs fresh coriander (cilantro), for garnish

Steamed jasmine rice, for serving


  1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, fish sauce, vinegar, and water and bring to the boil. Take off the heat, and transfer to a bowl and allow to cool. In a mortar and pestle, pound together the ginger, chile, and garlic. Once the fish sauce mixture is cooled, add the ginger mixture and lime juice. Set aside. In a large wok (large enough to hold the entire fish), heat the oil to 350 degrees F. Carefully, slide the whole fish into the oil and cook on high heat for 5 minutes. The scales of the elephant fish will puff up as it cooks. Remove the fish to a platter, and dress with 4 tablespoons of ginger fish sauce and garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve the fish with steamed jasmine rice and remaining ginger sauce.

Cook’s Note

You can use whole snapper as a substitute for the elephant fish; however the snapper will have to be scaled

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