Niall McKenna’s spicy fried seabass and crab fried rice

Many people don’t like to cook fish at home but these recipes will help you make it a family favourite, promises Niall McKenna

An image of Niall McKenna's crab fried rice.
Niall McKenna's crab fried rice

It’s no surprise that beef is the most popular item on the menu in my restaurant, but it’s closely followed by our fish dishes. For decades we have had a great longstanding relationship with Ewing’s fishmongers in Belfast, sourcing fresh local produce. But while it is a popular choice on our menu, we find that people don’t like to cook fish at home.

At the cookery school our fish and shellfish class is one of our most popular, and as a result we plan on introducing more fish cooking classes this year, incorporating different spices and cooking techniques.

One of the things I love about cooking fish at home is the speed. It is ready in minutes and can be accompanied by grains, potatoes, salads, noodles or even rice. If you are looking to add more fish to your diet, try these two simple recipes and see how you get on.

Spicy fried seabass
An image of Niall McKenna's spicy fried seabass.
Niall McKenna's spicy fried seabass

(Serves 4)

  • 600g seabass, cleaned and descaled
  • 1 litre vegetable oil (keep 2 tbsp for later)
  • 6 cloves garlic, skinned and chopped
  • 2 red chillis, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • Start by placing the fish on a chopping board and, using a sharp knife, score the fish skin on the side.
  • Place the vegetable oil into a wok, holding back two tablespoons for later. Heat the oil until it is bubbling and place the seabass in the wok cooking on each side for 10 minutes. Remove and place on a clean paper towel and set aside.
  • Remove the oil and start again. Heat the two tablespoons of oil and once heated, add the chillis, garlic, fish sauce and granulated sugar. Add in a tablespoon of water to loosen the mix and cook out for a further minute.
  • Spoon into a serving bowl and serve with the seabass.
Crab Fried Rice
An image of Niall McKenna's crab fried rice.
Niall McKenna's crab fried rice
  • 175g jasmine rice, steam cooked
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 60g white crab meat
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • ½ carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 small tomato, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 small bunch of coriander, destalked and chopped
  • 1 lime, halved for garnish
  • To start, cook off the jasmine rice by placing the rice in a bamboo steamer over a pot of boiling water. To avoid the rice sticking to the bamboo, line the steamer with a square of greaseproof paper and cook until tender. Once cooked, remove from the steamer.
  • Place the vegetable oil in a wok and heat, add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Next, add the beaten egg and then the rice and stir vigorously. Add in the onion, spring onion, tomato and carrot and stir fry for two minutes, ensuring the egg is well distributed.
  • Add the crab meat to the pan and cook for one minute.
  • Pour in the sauce and sugar and cook for another minute, ensuring that the bottom of the pan does not burn
  • Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the coriander. Serve with a wedge of lime to juice over before eating.
  • You can also garish with a helping of chopped chillis.
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