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Friday, June 3, 2011

Fried Sambal Ikan Cencaru [Horse Mackerel]

A spicy and tasty fried sambal fish quite common at Malay food stalls and Hokkien families.

5 pieces fish [ikan cencaru] - cleaned and slit on both sides [see photo]
enough oil for pan frying
Stuffing Ingredients
1 packet sambal tumis curry paste [*]
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
150 ml tamarind juice [1 tbsp tamarind mix with 200 ml water] - strained
2 - 3 tbsp oil

  1. Clean fish and lay it down flat.  Holding the fish down with one hand, make a deep slit from the back of the fish along the bone using the tip of a sharp knife to make a pocket to stuff the spice paste.
  2. Heat oil to saute curry paste. Add in seasoning. Fry till fragrant until oil breaks.   Add in tamarind juice. Fry and simmer till curry paste is thick. Taste and adjust seasoning. It should taste sweet and sourish and a little spicy. Set aside.  
  3. Stuff both sides of fish with curry paste.    
  4. Heat up oil enough to pan fry 1 - 2 fish at a time. The fish skin and edges will be burnt slightly because of the curry paste. Fry both sides till fish is cooked.       

Note: Usually the fishmonger will clean and cut the fish for you if you tell him that you are cooking this dish. For the sambal tumis mix, the vendor will tell you how much to buy if you tell him the quantity of fish you are cooking.  [*] You can prepare your own curry paste for stuffing.

Spice Paste [Ground]
4 red chillies
5 dried chillies
2 cloves garlic
10 shallots
1 tsp tumeric powder
1 tsp belacan
  • Heat oil in a wok to saute the spice paste until fragrant.  Fry as per Step 2 above.

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