Fried Smelt with Thai Basil and Sweet Peppers

Fish recipes are touch and go. Some people reallyreally enjoy fish and others only like it in fillet form with no up front visual of heads or tails indicating it's former life as  sea creature.

As for myself, I enjoy fish - fins, head, eyeballs and all. Maybe it's my upbringing in the Philippines where fish is a everyday meal staple. One of my absolute favorite fish recipes is Fried Smelt. Tiny fish seasoned, breaded and deep fried until they become pop-in-your mouth crunchy, then sprinkled liberally with salt and cracked pepper. The Chinese version of fried smelt usually tops the delicious crunchy little things with flash fried peppers, scallions and garlic.

This version of the Chinese Fried Smelt recipe, uses fresh Thai Basil, fried at a high temperature with garlic, scallions and thin slices of sweet, instead of hot peppers.

Fried Smelt with Thai Basil and Sweet Peppers 

  • For the Fish:
  • 2 cups of Vegetable or Canola Oil
  • 1 pound of Smelt – cleaned
  • 1 egg – beaten
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Fresh Cracked Pepper
  • For the Topping:
  • 2 tablespoons of Unsalted Butter
  • 1-2 cloves of Garlic – minced
  • 1 bunch of Scallions – diced
  • 1/2 cup of Mini Sweet Pepper – thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Thai Basil – julienned

Take all the vegetables and set aside.

Take a deep pan and heat the oil to medium-high.

Take a small handful of fish and lightly coating them in the egg, taking off the excess.

Transfer the egg coated fish to the flour and dust them liberally, taking off the excess flour.

Once the oil is hot enough, fry the fish is small batches and set aside.

Once you’ve finished all the fish, discard of the oil from the pan and reheat with butter.

Add the chopped vegetables and fry on high just for 1-2 minutes.

Put the fish in large mixing bowl and toss it with the fried vegetables and salt and pepper.

Serve with a side of white Jasmine Rice.

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