Recipe: Ginger & Lemongrass Whole Baked Snapper

Whether it be for a small dinner party or a family dinner, a centerpiece of whole baked Snapper looks impressive. This month’s recipe won’t just be impressive, it will explode with the flavours of ginger, lemongrass and chilli and will be a crowd pleaser.
Spring has sprung and thoughts begin to turn to alfresco dining, entertaining and gatherings of friends and family. Our Ginger and Lemongrass Whole Baked Snapper will please the eye and the palate with a fresh zingy deliciousness that makes us think of the beach and holidays by the sea.
 This recipe is from the April 2015 issue of Women's Weekly.


  • 3 kilogram whole snapper
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed, chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) water
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 4 fresh long chillies, seeded, sliced thinly
  • lime wedges, to serve
  • fresh coriander sprigs, to serve


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced). Place a large piece of extra wide foil on the bench and top with a slightly smaller sheet of baking paper, ensuring that both are larger than the fish in length.
  2. Rinse the fish under cold water and pat dry with absorbent paper. With a sharp knife, make 4 deep diagonal incisions across the flesh on both sides.
  3. Combine the oil, ginger, lemongrass, rind, 2 tablespoons of the juice and pepper in a small bowl; season with sea salt. Rub the flavoured oil all over the fish, the incisions and inside the cavity.
  4. Cover with another piece of baking paper and foil and scrunch the edges together to seal the fish within. Carefully lift the parcel on to a large oven tray. Bake fish for 30-35 minutes or until just cooked through.
  5. Meanwhile, place sugar and ¼ cup (60ml) of the water in a small saucepan over a medium-high heat; stir, without boiling, until sugar is dissolved. Raise the heat and cook until the syrup starts to turn light golden brown. Add the chilli flakes, fish sauce, remaining lime juice and remaining 1 tablespoon water. Remove from heat and stir to combine.
  6. Open the fish parcel. Carefully lift the fish on to a serving platter and scatter with sprigs of coriander and sliced chilli. Drizzle with the chilli sauce and serve with the lime wedges and steamed jasmine rice, if desired.
Whole Fresh Snapper
Snapper is part of the Bream family and is caught in the wild. It’s a marine fish that is caught in both coastal and offshore waters and is available all year round. It’s a popular fish because it is often described as having little to no “fishy flavour” and comes in large plate sized fish (such as this recipe calls for), or smaller if you prefer, and has a lean, firm texture.
As with many fish, Snapper is a very healthy choice. It contains a high level of potassium which aids metabolism and reduces the chances of stroke, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and kidney stones. It’s also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids to help decrease the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol. Easy to digest, it reduces inflammation and aids cognitive stimulation as well as providing as much as 70% of the recommended daily amount of selenium which supports white blood cell and thyroid functions. It’s also low in calories.
Ginger & Lemongrass Whole Baked Snapper
Here at Dawson's we sell beautiful whole New Zealand Snapper, with head on, scaled and gutted. We sell it plate sized or in smaller sizes. This recipe can be adapted to suit smaller servings of the fish rather than the whole large portion.

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