Crisp Whole Red Snapper with Asian Citrus Sauce


A whole red snapper, its skin delectably crunchy from sizzling in hot oil, is an Asian classic that is not to be missed. Be sure to serve the fish with plenty of steamed rice. 

Crisp Whole Red Snapper with Asian Citrus Sauce
Photo: © Melanie Acevedo


  • 2 whole red snappers (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pound each), cleaned and scaled

  • Cooking oil, for frying

  • 6 tablespoons canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock

  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

  • 4 teaspoons fresh orange juice

  • 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

  • 2 scallions including green tops, cut into thin slices


  1. Rinse the fish and dry the surface and the cavity of each thoroughly with paper towels. In a 12-inch or larger nonstick frying pan, heat 3/8 of an inch of cooking oil over moderately high heat until very hot. A deep-fat thermometer should register 375°. Carefully add the fish, letting the tails stick out of the pan if necessary. Let the fish cook, without moving them, until crisp and browned, about 9 minutes. Using a large spatula, carefully turn each fish. Continue cooking until crisp and browned and just done, about 7 minutes longer. Drain on paper towels.

  2. Meanwhile, in a small glass or stainless-steel bowl, combine the broth, soy sauce, lime juice, orange juice, sesame oil, grated ginger, and scallions.

  3. Serve the fish on a platter. Run a knife between the flesh and the bones and lift off the fillet with the skin attached. Turn the fish over and repeat. Pass the sauce.


Fish Alternatives In place of the whole red snappers, you can use whole sea bass, porgies, or rockfish of the same weight.

Suggested Pairing

A crisp, acidic white wine will be best with the citrus flavors and Asian ingredients of this dish. Try a Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley in France (Sancerre) or a Pinot Blanc from the Alsace region.

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