Inle stuffed fish

Inle stuffed fish

Luke Nguyen's Greater Mekong
Stuart Scott

I was introduced to this dish by a chef from the Karen ethnic minority group, or ‘Long Neck’ people. Nwe-Oo was so proud of her cuisine and passionate about sharing the beauty of Shan cooking. I spent many days in her kitchen at Inle Princess Resort, learning the secrets of traditional Myanmar cooking. If only the whole world were as kind-hearted and generous as the people of Myanmar.


Quantity Ingredient
4 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
500g whole carp or barramundi, cleaned
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
60ml peanut oil
125ml tomato passata
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 spring onions, sliced
1 large tomato, diced
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
2 coriander sprigs


  1. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the ginger and garlic to a paste, then set aside.
  2. Lay the fish flat on a chopping board. Using a sharp knife, and starting from its spine, carefully slice down towards its belly, on one side only, following the bone line — but don’t slice all the way through. This is to create a pocket for the stuffing, about 15 cm long.
  3. Now coat the fish with the soy sauce, salt, and half the ginger and garlic paste. Leave to marinate for 10 minutes.
  4. Heat the peanut oil in a hot pan. Stir in the passata and the remaining garlic and ginger paste. Cook, stirring, over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the turmeric, paprika and spring onion and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  5. Allow the passata mixture to cool a little, then stuff‡ half the mixture into the pocket in the fish. Secure the pocket by tying the fish back together with kitchen string.
  6. Stir the tomato and 125 ml hot water into the remaining stuffing mixture and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, half-fill a wok with vegetable oil and heat to 180°C, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 15 seconds. Add the fish and deep-fry for 8– minutes, or until crisp, turning the fish over halfway during cooking.
  8. Transfer the fish to a serving plate, then cut away and discard the string. Top the fish with the remaining stuffing mixture. Garnish with the coriander and serve.
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