Finger lime, fragrant herbs and crisp-skinned barra are a match made in heaven – the flavours are hot, sour, salty and sweet, yet fresh.
- 4 barramundi fillets
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 375g dried rice noodles
- 120g baby beans, trimmed
- 1 green papaya shredded
- 2/3 cup each mint, thai basil, coriander
- 3 red shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 birds-eye chillies, coarsley chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp grated palm sugar
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- Juice of 2 limes
- Roasted salted peanuts, coarsley chopped
- 3 finger limes
To make the nouc cham: pound the chilli, garlic and sugar in a mortar and pestle to a paste. Add lime juice, fish sauce and 1/4 cup hot water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Check the flavours – the sauce should be a balance of hot, sour, salty and sweet. Squeeze in the finger lime pearls, stir to combine and set aside.
Cook the noodles in a large pan of boiling water for 5-6 mins until just tender, adding the beans in the last minute or two of cooking. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl. Add the papaya, herbs and shallot, drizzle with a little nuoc cham and toss to combine.
Heat a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Season barramundi all over with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil and rub into the skin and flesh.
Place barramundi, skin-side down in the heated pan and cook for 6 mins, turn and cook for another 7mins. Transfer to a plate to rest for 2 mins.
Divide noodle salad among serving bowls and top each with a piece of crispy barramundi. Scatter with peanuts then squeeze over the finger lime pearls. Serve with extra nuoc cham to drizzle.