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Sambal Fish: A Spicy and Flavorful Dish

If you're a fan of spicy food, you've probably heard of sambal fish. This dish is a popular Southeast Asian delicacy that combines fresh fish with a spicy sambal sauce made from chillies, garlic, and other ingredients.

Sambal fish is a versatile dish that can be served in a variety of ways, from grilled to fried, and is often paired with rice or noodles.

The Essentials of Sambal Fish Sambal fish is a dish that has been enjoyed for centuries in Southeast Asia, particularly in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. The dish typically consists of a whole fish that is marinated in a spicy sambal sauce made from chillies, garlic, shallots, and other ingredients. The fish is then grilled or fried until it is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Cooking and Serving Sambal Fish If you're interested in trying sambal fish at home, there are a few things you should know.

First, it's important to choose a fresh, high-quality fish that will hold up well during cooking.

Some of the most popular fish used in sambal fish dishes include pomfret, snapper, and mackerel.

A plate of sambal fish with vibrant red chili sambal, topped with sliced onions and fresh lime, served alongside fragrant steamed rice

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is sambal fish?
  • What are the ingredients in sambal sauce?
  • How is sambal fish typically served?

Key Takeaways

  • Sambal fish is a spicy Southeast Asian dish made with fresh fish and a sambal sauce.
  • The dish can be grilled or fried and is often served with rice or noodles.
  • Sambal fish is a versatile dish that can be made with a variety of fish and customized to suit your tastes.

The Essentials of Sambal Fish

A plate of sambal fish with vibrant red chili sambal, topped with sliced onions and fresh lime, served alongside fragrant steamed rice

Understanding Sambal

Sambal is a spicy sauce made from a mixture of chillies, shrimp paste, garlic, shallots, and other ingredients. It is a staple condiment in Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

There are many variations of sambal, but the most common is sambal belacan, which is made by toasting belacan (shrimp paste) and blending it with dried chillies.

Selecting the Right Fish

When it comes to making sambal fish, it's important to choose the right type of fish.

Pomfret, red snapper, tilapia, swai, and mackerel are all good choices.

You can use whole fish or white fish fillets. If using fillets, choose ones that are firm and have a mild flavour that won't overpower the sambal.

Preparation Techniques

There are several ways to prepare sambal fish, including steaming, baking, frying, or cooking in a wok.

If you're using whole fish, make sure to clean it thoroughly and remove the scales and guts.

If using fillets, pat them dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. You can wrap the fish in banana leaves before cooking to add flavour and moisture.

Seasoning and Spices

To season the fish, sprinkle it with salt and sugar before cooking.

You can also add turmeric powder for colour and flavour.

For the sambal, you'll need dried chillies, belacan, garlic, shallots, tamarind pulp or juice, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and candlenut.

Toast the belacan before blending it with the other ingredients in a food processor. Adjust the seasoning to taste, adding more sugar or salt if needed.

Cooking and Serving Sambal Fish

A sizzling pan of sambal fish on a stove, with steam rising and a vibrant red sauce. A plate with a bed of rice next to it, ready to be served

Traditional Sambal Fish Recipes

If you want to try a traditional sambal fish recipe, you can use a skillet or wok to fry a whole gutted and scaled fish until it's crispy and golden brown.

Then, you can serve it with a homemade sambal sauce made with dried chillies, tamarind pulp, and sugar.

For a more authentic experience, you can try the recipe from Lim Song Lai, a famous sambal fish restaurant in Upper East Coast, Singapore.

Modern Twists and Serving Suggestions

If you're looking for a modern twist on sambal fish, you can try using different types of fish or adding vegetables to the dish.

For example, you can use mackerel instead of pomfret or add bok choy to the sambal sauce.

You can also serve sambal fish as a soup or use the sauce as a dip for chilli crab.

When serving sambal fish, you can present it on a large serving platter for a family dinner or serve it in individual bowls for a more intimate dining experience.

You can also pair it with steamed rice and Asian greens to balance out the heat of the sambal sauce.

Nutritional Information

Sambal fish can be a nutritious meal as it is a good source of protein.

However, the calories and fat content can vary depending on the type of fish and the amount of oil used for frying.

For example, a 100g serving of fried fish can contain around 200-300 calories, 10-20g of fat, and 0-5g of carbs. If you're watching your calorie intake, you can try grilling or baking the fish instead of frying it.

Frequently Asked Questions

A sizzling pan of sambal fish, surrounded by vibrant ingredients and a steaming bowl of rice

How do you prepare a Malaysian-style sambal fish?

To prepare a Malaysian-style sambal fish, you will need to marinate the fish in a mixture of sambal paste, tamarind juice, salt, and sugar.

You can then grill, bake, or fry the fish, and serve it with steamed rice and some stir-fried vegetables.

What are the main ingredients for a simple sambal fish recipe?

The main ingredients for a simple sambal fish recipe are sambal paste, fish, tamarind juice, salt, and sugar.

You can also add some sliced onions, garlic, and ginger for extra flavour.

Can you share a recipe for sambal fish curry?

Sure, here's a recipe for sambal fish curry that you can try at home:

  • Heat oil in a pan and fry some sliced onions until golden brown.
  • Add some sliced garlic and ginger, and fry for another minute.
  • Add some sambal paste, curry powder, and coconut milk, and stir well.
  • Add some fish fillets and simmer until the fish is cooked through.
  • Serve with steamed rice and some vegetables.

What's the best way to cook sambal fish fillet?

The best way to cook sambal fish fillet is to marinate the fillet in sambal paste, tamarind juice, salt, and sugar for at least 30 minutes, and then grill, bake, or fry the fillet until it is cooked through.

How many calories does sambal fried fish typically contain?

The number of calories in sambal fried fish will depend on the type and amount of fish used, as well as the cooking method and ingredients used in the sambal paste. However, fried fish in general is typically high in calories due to the added oil used in the frying process.

What are some popular sides to serve with sambal fish?

Some popular sides to serve with sambal fish include steamed rice, stir-fried vegetables, and pickled vegetables.

You can also serve some fresh herbs, such as coriander or mint, to add some extra flavour to the dish.