Whole Fish on the Braai | Seafood Recipes | Fishwife

Ryan Nienaber fishwife fresh fish seafood

In 2013 my husband and I went to Thailand for a holiday. One of my fondest memories is of the two of us eating a traditional Thai meal in a stilted hut in the middle of the mangroves. The home belonged to one of the local fishermen’s wives and she provided quite the feast for us. One of her many dishes included a whole fish which was smoked in banana leaves. I tried to replicate some of the flavours she used for this recipe. Although I didn’t smoke it in a banana leaf, I still managed to get that lovely smokey flavour the way us South Africans know just how to do… the good old braai!


Whole Fish on the Braai


  1. Whole Red Roman (or any whole small fish)
  2. 1 x Red Onion
  3. 1 big handful of Coriander
  4. 2 tsp Garlic
  5. 1 tsp chopped Chilli
  6. 2 tsp grated Ginger
  7. 1/2 cup Soy sauce
  8. 1 Lemon


  1. Scale the Red Roman if not already done. An easy way to do this is by pulling a fork against the grain which will take the scales off.
  2. Make sure your fish is gutted and the cavity is nice and clean.
  3. Score the skin of the fish to allow the flavours of your marinade to infuse into the meat.
  4. Chop the red onion and coriander and fill the cavity of the fish
  5. Grate some lemon rind into the cavity.
  6. Mix together the garlic, chilli, ginger and soy sauce and use this to coat the fish (pour and rub half the mixture over the fish, keeping remaining half for basting throughout the cooking process).
  7. Place fish in a braai grid which has a handle and can close and be turned easily.
  8. Cook the whole fish over medium coals for approximately 20 - 25 minutes, flipping every 3-5 minutes so that the skin doesn't burn. Using a basting brush, paint the fish with the marinade with every flip.
  9. The fish is done when the eyes are white and the skin has pulled tight. If you take a fork and pull the meat from the back bone, it should pull away easily.

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  • Allan Pillay on

    Will try this today inside a foil

  • Tiro on

    What can l use to replace garlic and chilli?

  • Varini Chetty on

    Could I use foil to braai this in?

  • david gassner on

    A friend gave me a Miss Lucy today. I braaied it according to your recipe. It was magnificent. So easy and simple. Great taste. Thank you.

  • Michélyn on

    best recipes that i could count on

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