Cuisine Fiend

thai fish stir fry

Sat, 6 May, 2017

Fish stir fry is a great idea, especially if you souse the fish with Thai flavours, but the best fish for a stir fry needs to be firm: cod, haddock, hake, monkfish or similar.

Thai fish stir fry with noodles

Can you stir fry fish?

I can officially confirm that it’s possible to stir fry fish. It’s probably laughably obvious to chefs, especially the genuine oriental chefs with ethnic roots and all who know what they’re doing when they cook stir fries.

I just slosh a bit of fish sauce about and pretend I’m cooking Thai – but why blame me? It’s no cultural appropriation but an affirmation of how wonderful the cuisine is, even when cooked by a clueless farang.

So can you stir fry fish???

Fish stir fries: I was always concerned that – sturdy monkfish aside – fish would flake to oblivion and disintegrate in a wok, the brutal beast that it is (wok, not fish). And surprise, surprise, not so as it turns out.

Which only confirms that you shouldn’t moan about the impossible until you try.

Thai fish stir fry

How do you stir fry fish then, for crying out loud?

Pretty much as you would stir fry chicken but handling it with ten times as much care. Joking aside: it needs to be seared in the wok first, then carefully removed and set aside to wait for the companions: vegetables and noodles, to be cooked.

It then returns to the wok, gently again, and briefly steams under a lid to complete the cooking.

thai style fish stir fry with haddock or cod

Anything else about fish stir fries?

Well, of course - marinade. Apart from giving it flavour and creating the sauce, it also helps keep fish firm. Salt from the soy sauce, together with cornflour both coat and firm up the fish chunks.

So basically, it's simple:

The secret is to marinate it senseless, cook it on medium heat and handle it with (chopsticks and) care when in and out of, and then in again, the wok.


You can add some green Thai curry paste to the vegetables at the end of their cooking if you wish.

thai fish stir fry

Servings: 2Time: 20 minutes plus marinating fish


  • 300g (10oz.) firm white fish (cod, haddock, hake, red bream) skinned and pin boned
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil, for frying
  • For the marinade:
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 clove of garlic, pressed
  • 1 tbsp. grated ginger
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ bunch of fresh coriander, chopped finely
  • 1 green Thai chili, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 ½ tbsp. fish sauce
  • ½ tbsp. dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp palm sugar
  • For the stir fry and noodles:
  • 100g (3oz.) medium egg or flat rice noodles
  • chili oil
  • 1 red pepper
  • 100g (3oz.) cup mushrooms
  • a handful of sugar snap peas or mangetout
  • 50g (1 ½ oz.) beansprouts
  • ½ carrot, shredded
  • 4 spring onions
  • quartered lime, to serve

Thai fish ingredients


1. Rinse and pat dry the fish; cut it into 5cm chunks. Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl, add the fish and chill for at least 30 minutes.

2. Core and chop the pepper into strips or dice; slice the mushrooms, slice the beans lengthwise. Trim the spring onions and chop them into 1-2cm pieces.

Scallions and veg for stir fry

3. Soak the noodles: bring a pan of water to the boil, drop the noodles and soak them for 5 minutes. In the meantime heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the fish with the marinade and spread it over the bottom of the wok in a single layer. Cook for a minute, then turn the fish pieces over using chopsticks or tongs. When the fish has barely turned opaque, remove it back to the bowl and keep aside.

Cooking fish stir fry

4. Add all the vegetables except spring onions to the wok and turn the heat up a little. Stir around to dislodge the marinade that might have stuck to the bottom, add ½ cup of water and cover with a lid or a tray. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring now and again. At this point drain the noodles, stir a little chili oil into them and keep warm.

5. When the vegetables look cooked, return the fish with its sauce into the wok, add the spring onions and stir gently. Cover the wok with a lid and let the fish steam for a minute or two. Divide the noodles between serving bowls or plates and pile the fish stir fry on top. Serve with lime quarters.

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Your comments

Norman Chandler
So glad I found this recipe as I had some noodles and beansprouts leftover from a previous stir fry. The fish came from the freezer, next time I would definitely recommend using fresh fish. I did not have any Thai chillis so used a dried chilli from the pantry. The result , wow, I will definitely be cooking this one again and again. A word of caution, go easy on the chilli oil I only used one teaspoon and it certainly made its presence felt!
2 years ago
Cindy Franklin
Fantastic! Used baby bok choy instead of beans and didn't have mushrooms on hand, but the recipe shines anyway. Will be making this one regularly in this family! Thank you!
2 years ago
Super yummy and easy to make. I will definitely be making this again soon!
2 years ago

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