Whitebait; Jailbait; Jail Break and there ends a little associative journey that ends not in some elaborate international conspiracy but at a certifiable rock classic. What does AC/DC have to do with whitebait? Nothing except they’re both suffered from not being taken seriously and ………………. come from around Fremantle.

Whitebait was a serious “food good” moment on a diving trip as a teenager near the Abrolhos Islands. One of us reached out of the back of the boat and scooped up a catch bag full of them and dumped them straight on the BBQ plate. I don’t think we did more than scoop them up and eat them.

Not quite as simple but little more difficult is deep fried whitebait. Dusted in a plastic bag with equal parts flour and cornflour with a dose of pepper and chilli powder. Deep fried in a wok in canola oil.

Served with a lemon and a cooked salsa with the following:

a finely sliced onion; 2 chopped garlic cloves; 1 deseeded finely sliced chilli -sauteed a little then simmered with 4 chopped tomatoes with the lid on for 10 minutes.

A handful of parsley, half a cup of fresh breadcrumbs, and some pepper added at the end.



  1. Santos’s avatar

    almost exactly how i cook them, only i scoop up a bag of them from a deep freezer.

  2. Anthony’s avatar

    Perfection – it’s not be messed with lightly.

  3. Anonymous’s avatar

    I can’t say I’m a big whitebait fan. They’re even quite lousy as a bait (although that could be said about any bait *I* use!). That said I now have a craving for them, and dipped in chilli sauce, well I think you might have something quite delicious.


  4. Anthony’s avatar

    As a hack fisherman myself, I can only sympathise, my last fishing trip took 7 hours of driving and three tanks of fuel for barely half a kilo of fillets but it’s not about the fish is it?

  5. Anonymous’s avatar

    If it was, then I wouldn’t ever go fishing. I do enjoy sitting back and enjoying the world glide past.


  6. Anthony’s avatar

    ahh the great carousel.

  7. husky9’s avatar

    i love whitebaits but always have problems deep frying them…do u usually dust them when they are frozen or unfrozen? i like salt and pepper whitebaits but will be trying ya recipe this weekend

  8. Anthony’s avatar

    Husky, I get mine fresh from the fishmarkets but be very careful with frozen food. If it is frozen in the middle it might be uncooked in the middle or have to be burnt on the outside. 
    You need to defrost properly.Putting it in the refrigerator a day before is the safest way to defrost anything. The next best way is to put it in the oven with only the fan on.
    Good luck, let me know how it goes.

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