1To prepare fish: Scale fish but do not slit fish belly to remove innards. Remove gills, then only remove innards from the gills’ opening. Place fish flat on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, slice from the top fin from the head into the main bone towards the tail; do not cut into the stomach. Do the same for the other side. Rub salt all over fish and set aside.
2Heat 2 tbsps oil and saute garlic till lightly golden. Add all the vegetables and stir-fry for 1 min over high heat.
3Combine lemon sauce ingredients together. Add sauce to the vegetables, stirring until it comes to a slow boil and sauce thickens. Turn off heat.
4Generously coat fish all over with tapioca flour, shaking off excess. Heat pan with enough oil to deep-fry fish.
5Hold the main fish bone with tongs and support the fish belly with a ladle. Slowly immerse fish into hot oil with fish upright. Remove ladle but continue to hold fish with the tongs until fish is firm enough. In the meantime, spoon hot oil over fish that is not covered in oil until it turns light golden in colour. Remove fish and drain on paper towel.
6Serve fish with lemon sauce mixture.
Photo: Chris Leong