Cambodian Fried Fish with Coconut Sauce

Cambodian Fried Fish with Coconut Sauce

Andrew Pham
Although this Cambodian recipe generally uses catfish, almost any type of white meat fish will work. Some fish I’ve tried with good results are cod, snapper, grouper, tilapia, and baramundi.
This rich and succulent dish goes well with fried morning glories or steamed vegetables.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Cambodian


  • 1 pound boneless fish fillets cut into 3- to 4-ounce pieces
  • ½ cup oil
  • ¾ cup light coconut milk
  • ½ cup bell pepper sliced

Aromatic mix

  • 1 6- inch lemongrass stem finely diced
  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves diced
  • 2 Thai chilis chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic crushed and chopped
  • ½ tsp shrimp paste
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 4 tablespoons water


  • Pour aromatic mix into blender or small food processor.
  • Blend thoroughly until sauce is very smooth. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a frying pan.
  • On medium heat, fry fish pieces, 3-4 minutes per side depending on thickness of fillets. Fish should have a nice golden crust with some whiteness showing.
  • Set aside on paper towel to drain off excess oil (if possible keep warm in toaster oven or under heat lamp).
  • Discard oil from pan.
  • Use same pan to simmer blended aromatic mix on low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant (3 to 5 minutes).
  • Add coconut milk and bell peppers.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Pour sauce into a deep serving dish.
  • Arrange fish pieces on top and serve.