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Thai fish stir fry

Updated: Wed, 28 July, 2021

Fish stir fry is a great dish, 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 Asian chefs with ethnic roots and skills 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 declare anything impossible until you try.

thai style fish and vegetable 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.

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.

thai style fish stir fry with haddock or cod


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

The monkfish option

I’ve mentioned monkfish: it is certainly a good option for a fish stir fry. What’s more, you won’t have to handle it quite so gently as it is firm and resilient to being tossed about the wok.

But firstly, it is expensive so throwing it into a stir fry may seem a little extravagant. It is better to make it a star of the show and cook it on its own, spiced monkfish for instance, or to surround it just with one or two frying pan companions and make monkfish with chorizo and mushrooms.


Most ingredients in the recipe are perfectly accessible, available in every supermarket. But if you can’t get Thai chillies, use a jalapeno or any other medium-sized green chilli (birdseye, the tiny ones are mighty hot).

If you have no inclination to search for palm sugar, use soft brown or demerara. Instead of fish sauce, Worcestershire can be used, or simply add 2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce.

And chilli oil can be substituted with groundnut oil, losing only a fraction of the overall heat in the dish.

thai fish stir fry ingredients

More Thai recipes

Thai flavours in a vegetarian dish are as potent as with meat or fish. Thai cinnamon noodles is Nigella’s prawn noodle recipe I adapted to be vegetarian.

Thai beef salad is a classic, and mine uses bavette steak. It’s the cheapest decent steaking cut of beef, massively underrated and fabulously delicious, if approached correctly.

And more fish with Thai seasoning – this time a whole grilled trout. Delightful!

More Asian fish recipes

Miso marinated cod or haddock is a fine dining classic. Even though I use ordinary cod instead of Japanese black cod, it’s still an astonishing dish.

Stir fried salmon with lots of lemon, a new way of preparing this familiar fish.

And there is the Vietnamese salad bowl with smoked fish, Arbroath smokie or whatever native equivalent is readily available in your neck of woods.

And don’t forget the Thai restaurant classic: whole steamed sea bass with spring onions and fresh coriander.

Thai fish stir fry

Servings: 2Time: 20 minutes plus marinating fish
Rating: (2 reviews)


  • 300g (10 oz.) 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
  • 1½ tbsp. fish sauce
  • ½ tbsp. dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp palm sugar
  • For the stir fry and noodles:
  • 100g (3 oz.) medium egg or flat rice noodles
  • chili oil
  • 1 red pepper
  • 100g (3 oz.) cup mushrooms
  • a handful of sugar snap peas or mangetout
  • 50g (1½ oz.) beansprouts
  • ½ carrot, shredded
  • 4 spring onions
  • quartered lime, to serve


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.

3. Soak the noodles: bring a pan of water to the boil, drop the noodles and soak them for 5 minutes.

4. 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 thai fish stir fry

5. 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 large tray. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring now and again.

6. At this point drain the noodles, stir a little chili oil into them and keep warm.

7. 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.

8. Divide the noodles between serving bowls or plates and pile the fish stir fry on top. Serve with lime quarters.

Originally published: Sat, 6 May, 2017

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Your comments

Wow, this is brilliant! I never knew you could stir fry fish!
2 years ago
This is delicious! I used ingredients at hand- but overall a lovely dish.
2 years ago
Sara L. Bryant
I tried making this recipe and I am very happy because the first time I could make something so perfect and so delicious and all this is because of you thank you so much for sharing this post do share such post they really mean a lot.
3 years ago
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!
5 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!
5 years ago
Super yummy and easy to make. I will definitely be making this again soon!
5 years ago

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

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