Ghana style Fried Red Snapper
At some point in my life I finally realised that Red Snapper was not the only fish in the world. I suppose it must have been like discovering how to walk after months of crawling as a child. The only difference was the discovery did not suddenly trigger a “moving on from Red Snapper” experience in the same way as discovering walking triggered a refusal to crawl. I have and do enjoy other fish, but fried Red Snapper will always have the rather prestigious status as my first love.
This white textured fish taught me how to eat whole fish without thinking twice about sharp bones. Anyone who grew up along Accra’s coast in Ghana as I did, had Red Snapper with the ubiquitous Kenkey meal. Perhaps it was the most commonly available or the most palatable in combination with Kenkey.
The traditional preparation of Red Snapper was similar to how tilapia is prepared for either grilling or frying in Ghana. A couple of slits are made in each fish and filled with an aromatic marinade made up of ginger, pepper (chili) and salt. In Ghana, after the fish is cleaned the gills and fins are also removed. Also, in Ghana, fish (known as Kenan in Accra) is then generally fried on both sides (between 7-12 minutes), until most of the moisture is drawn out. Frying the fish until almost crispy, I understand was and is still useful for preservation purposes dating back from the days when refrigeration did not exist.
The method I used below is simple. With the exception of cleaning the fish, a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice and flakes of sea salt the fish was left intact. For the traditional Ghana recipe of preparation, see this recipe – Grilled Tilapia.
Fried Red Snapper was almost always accompanied by the two chili sauces kpakpo shito and or shito din. For a complete and somewhat expensively assembled combination, fried shrimps are added to the mix and garnished with slices of onions on the side.