Fried-Fish Subs with Chili Sauce and Herbs

Fried-Fish Subs with Thai-Style Chili Sauce and Herbs
Photo: David Malosh
Prep Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
40 mins

The flavors of Thailand inspire this delectable sub sandwich. Fried shallots lend the sandwiches extra crunch—and even better, you can fry the fish in the allium-infused cooking oil. Rounding out the dish are pungent fish sauce, garlicky-sweet nam prik pao (Thai chili sauce), a shower of fresh herbs, and the floral pucker of lime juice.


  • Vegetable oil, for frying

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 2 tablespoons Thai-style chili sauce, such as Lee Kum Kee, plus more for drizzling

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 3 mini cucumbers, quartered lengthwise

  • 1 small red bell pepper (or ½ large), ribs and seeds removed, sliced lengthwise into ¼-inch strips

  • 1 serrano or jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced (ribs and seeds removed for less heat, if desired)

  • ¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, plus more for dredging

  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 cup seltzer or club soda

  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced lengthwise (1 cup)

  • 1 pound skinless cod fillet, cut into 1-inch-thick strips

  • 4 soft hoagie rolls, such as Martin's, split

  • Fresh tender herbs, such as cilantro sprigs and mint and basil leaves, for serving


  1. Pour enough oil into a small, heavy pot or Dutch oven to come a third of the way up sides. Heat over medium until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°F, adjusting as necessary to maintain temperature. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together fish sauce, lime juice, and chili sauce; season with salt and pepper. Add cucumbers, bell pepper, and serrano pepper, tossing to evenly coat. Let stand, tossing occasionally.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Whisk in seltzer just until batter is thin and bubbly with small lumps (do not overmix); set aside. Dredge shallots in cornstarch to evenly coat; shake off any excess. Fry until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels.

  3. Increase oil temperature to 360°. Working in batches, dredge fish in cornstarch to evenly coat; shake off any excess. Dip in batter, allowing excess to drain back into bowl, and gently lower into oil.

  4. Fry, turning a few times, until fish is just cooked through and batter is golden and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet, lightly season with salt, and let drain and cool slightly.

  5. Stuff rolls with fish, cucumbers and peppers, fried shallots, and herbs. Drizzle with pickling liquid and more chili sauce. Serve immediately.

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