Spiced barbecue bream recipe

PUBLISHED: 10:59 08 July 2014 | UPDATED: 10:59 08 July 2014


Featured recipe from the June 2014 Hampshire Life magazine

Serves 4

1 x 1 kg bream (or 2 x 600g or 4 x 350g) gutted and scaled.

2 tsp ground turmeric.

3 small shallots, finely chopped.

4 garlic cloves, crushed.

1 tbsp fresh root ginger, finely chopped.

2 large mild red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped.

100ml coconut cream.

1 tbsp palm sugar (or soft brown sugar).

1 tbsp fish sauce.

1 lime, thinly sliced.

6 kaffir lime leaves, defrosted if frozen.

A small bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped.

Banana leaves or foil for barbecuing.



1 Wash the fish and then pat dry with plenty of kitchen paper. Make three deep slashes down each side with a sharp knife and then rub the fish with turmeric.

2 Pound the shallots, garlic, ginger and chilli to a smooth paste with a pestle and mortar.

3 Heat the coconut cream in a saucepan until bubbling, then stir in the spice paste and stir-fry for eight minutes to split out the oils and take off the raw edge. Stir in the sugar and fish sauce and taste the mixture. Add more fish sauce or sugar as necessary to get a good balance of pungent, sweet and salty.

4 Brush the spice paste all over the fish, ensuring it gets down into the cuts. Lay alternating slices of lime and kaffir leaves down the length of the fish, then sprinkle over a little coriander. Wrap the fish in banana leaves if using, then in a layer of foil. Refrigerate until you’re ready to cook.

5 Prepare your barbecue 45 minutes in advance to give the flames a chance to die down. If you’re cooking one large bream, barbecue in the foil for eight minutes on each side ( three minutes for 350g fish or five minutes for 600g fish), then remove the foil and cook for a few more minutes on each side to char the leaves and impart a smoky flavour. If you’re not using the leaves, open up the foil and cover the barbeque to allow the smoke to penetrate.

6 To check if the bream is cooked, cut open the leaves and insert a spoon into the thickest part of the flesh near the head. If it pulls away easily from the back bone, it’s ready. If not, carefully turn the fish over on top of the leaves, cover and cook for five more minutes before checking again.


Susie Carter, Susie’s kitchen

“If I’m going to go to all the trouble of firing up the barbecue, it needs to be for something a little bit special that really benefits from those delicious smoky flavours that only real charcoal can give.

This dish more than qualifies and I think it would go down a storm on fathers’ day, served with some zesty Asian salads and a bowl of fluffy rice. Frozen banana leaves are available from Asian supermarkets, of which there are a few in and around the county, and add a subtle savoury flavour as well as an extra bit of wow factor. They also make great disposable place mats or even plates – ideal for eating al fresco.”


Stephen George, Berry Bros. & Rudd

“When we finally get some summer I am all for a good barbecue. Wine and barbecues on the other hand are a different matter entirely. So here are a couple of quick rules before I get into the nitty gritty of Susie’s recipe. For white go for aromatic and full flavoured, the fuller the body the better. For reds, avoid tannins and go for fruit, again, the fuller the body the better. However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule as you’ll see from this month’s choices.”


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