Ikan Sambal - Fish With Spicy Tamarind Sauce (Brunei)

“This recipe was featured on week 39 of my food blog, "Travel by Stove." I am attempting to cook one meal from every nation on Earth, and Brunei is my 39th stop. This recipe originally appeared in "Southeast Asian Cooking" by Barbara Hansen. The original version includes 1/2 tsp of shrimp paste in the sauce, which I left out here because I thought it tasted awful. Use it only if you are familiar with and like the taste of shrimp paste.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Rub the fish fillets with salt and turmeric, then cut them into pieces (for large fillets you would want about four pieces each; just two for smaller fillets). Cover and refrigerate.
  2. Place the shallots, garlic and chile in a food processor and pulse until you get a thick paste.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a small saucepan. Add the shallot mixture and saute for about three minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the tamarind paste with the warm water and add to the shallots with the sugar and salt. Reduce heat and simmer for five minutes or until the sauce is pretty thick.
  5. Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp oil in a large frying pan and fry the fish on both sides, working in batches if you need to, until it flakes easily with a fork. Transfer the fish to a warm platter and spoon the sauce over. Garnish with the onion rings.

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