Here’s a dish that has some wow factor- slap it down on the table and let people dig in with their hands. Barramundi wings, and any other fish wings for that matter, are an extremely cheap cut of fish as they come bones, fins and all (these four wings cost me $7.50). The wings are the underside of the fish, just behind the head, including the pectoral fins- they have a surprisingly large amount of flesh and like anything on the bone, are delicious and juicy. I decided to deep fry the Barra and serve it with a salty, sweet, sour and hot sauce that will have you licking your fingers between bites. The sauce can be used with any fish or vegetables, so leftovers are great. To make this tasty appetizer you will need:
Spicy Tamarind Sauce
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 1/2 Inch piece fresh ginger, minced
- 3 large cloves garlic, diced
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 2 tsp tamarind puree (you can get this from your supermarket or Asian grocer)
- 2 tsp palm sugar (if you can’t find this, brown sugar is fine)
- 4 Thai chillies, sliced
- Juice of one lime
- 1 Kaffir lime leaf, sliced
- 1 lemon grass stalk, bashed and finely chopped
- 1 bunch of coriander (cilantro)
- 2 tbsp sweet soy sauce (ABC brand is the way to go)
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- A splash of water
- 4 Barramundi wings (or any other firm white-fish wings) scaled and cleaned
- 5 spring onions (green onions) sliced and fried
- flour for dusting
- salt and pepper
- peanut oil for deep frying
Begin by making your paste, combine onion, garlic, chilli, ginger, Kaffir lime and lemon grass in a pestle and mortar or food processor. Pound or blend to a paste.
Add fish sauce, soy, lime juice, tamarind paste and as much water as needed to attain the sauce consistency you want. I put in about 5 tbsp. Taste the sauce and adjust to create a balance of salty, sweet, sour and hot, adding more fish sauce, sugar, tamarind and chilli respectively. Simmer for 2 minutes and you’re done.
For the fish, heat your oil, enough for the fish to be submerged, around 2 inches. Heat the oil to approximately 180ºC or 350º F. While the oil is heating, generously season fish with salt and pepper, rubbing the salt into the skin. Dust with flour. Deep fry fish, I did it one piece at a time, until cooked and skin crisp, approximately 4 minutes and drain on kitchen towel, continue until all fish is cooked. Serve on a platter with scattered coriander, fried spring onions and drizzle with sauce. Keep some of the sauce in the bowl for people to pile on their plates, which they will undoubtedly do.