Oven Baked Whole Red Snapper + Happy Valentine

oven baked red snapper

On a thursday afternoon, I visited one local Indian market recommend by a friend to get some fresh fish. At first I wanted to get Tilapia, but as they unpacked fresh fish, I couldn’t get my eyes off this gorgeous fresh-looking whole red snapper stirring at me with its clear bright eyes, telling me please pick me ;-). Bought. The fish monger gladly cleaned, removed scales and gutted it for me. Now I couldn’t wait to get home to prepare it.

For this beauty of a fish, I decided to only use the most simplest marinade I had at home. Just like my mum used to do it, actually she still cooks her fish this way for as long as I can remember. Since Kenya has got the most tastiest fish from Lake Victoria all the way to Indian Ocean, we know how to preserve the natural taste of it by only using the most affordable, quickest and easiest marinade you can think of. If you happen to oder fish in a local restaurant anywhere in Kenya, put smile on and ask the waiter/waitress what marinade had been used on the fish, you’ll be surprised because mostly only salt and lime juice is used, yet its taste lives you craving for more. Thats what i exactly used on the this recipe with just a little bit of a twist.

While the Fish “breathed” in my kitchen sink, I grabbed my pestle and mortar, threw in some garlic cloves, ginger, some lime juice, salt and pepper and voila, almost half way done!

It could be a challenge to eat a whole grilled red snapper since it’s a little bit bony but if you follow the flesh gain, it is easy to enjoy it. It has a great flavour and a white flaky flesh when cooked.

Before i share the recipe with you, let me give you a few tips on how to know your fish is fresh before buying it.

  1. Fresh fish should be odourless (pleasantly of the sea) if it smelly fishy, it’s not fresh.. have some drumsticks for dinner instead
  2. Fresh fish must have clear bright eyes, dull eyes mean the fish is not fresh
  3. Fresh fish should have bright reddish gills, a dark blue-purpleish colour means the fish isn’t fresh…

Lets get started…

Ingredients (Serves 2)

1 head-on-whole red snapper, scaled and gutted

1 lemon, thinly sliced

Juice of 2 small limes

4 garlic cloves

2 inches of fresh ginger (optional)

4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil + more for dizzling

A pinch of salt, pepper and masala/paprika powder


red snapper
red snapper and spices

Wash and rinse your fish under running cold water. If you are using a deep frozen one, refreeze it over night in your normal refrigerator before cleaning it.

Pat dry both inside and outside using a paper towel

Let it rest somewhere in your kitchen while preparing the marinade (I let mine rest on the baking sheet)

Grab your pestle and mortar then add in; Garlic, ginger, lime juice, salt, pepper and masala/paprika powder

spices in pestel

Roll the pestle across the ingredients so that they crush and burst. Continue until all of the ingredients have been crushed and mostly intact.

With a knife, cut some slits on the fish about 4 or 5 on each side. This was the fish will be able to cook evenly.

First, rub olive oil on both side of the fish and the inside. Then apply the marinade on the fish slits on both sides and the inside.

Stuff lemon slices and sage inside the marinated fish

spiced red snapper

Preheat oven to 220 degrees and cook for 15-20 minutes

Drizzle some olive oil on top before serving

Serve hot with vegetables, rice, potatoes e.t.c

Enjoy and come back to thank me for this amazing but simple recipe. 😉

Ready to eat red snapper

4 thoughts on “Oven Baked Whole Red Snapper + Happy Valentine

  1. You did not mention the Indian market you bought the red snapper from, where do I go to get one?

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