Chefs' Recipes

Pan-fried fish with vinegar sambal

A caramel-like flavour comes through in the sauce accompanying this fish. You'll want to savour every last drop over a big bowl of steamed rice.
Pan-fried fish with vinegar sambalAlicia Taylor

“This recipe is adapted from A Kristang Family Cookbook by Melba Nunis,” says Tony Tan. “The secret is to cook the spice paste until it takes on a caramel-like fragrance. This dish, with its tangy sambal, is incredible with the cucumber salad. Mackerel is traditionally used, but any fish is delicious, and I use rice vinegar, which is milder than most vinegars.”


Spice paste


1.For spice paste, drain chillies then blend with shallots and candlenuts in a food processor to a fine paste, adding a little water to loosen if required.
2.Combine fish with turmeric, chilli powder and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl, turn to coat and set aside to marinate (15 minutes).
3.Heat a wok or frying pan with 60ml oil over medium-high heat. When oil begins to shimmer, add fish, skin-side down, and cook, turning once, until skin is crisp and fish is cooked through (2-3 minutes each side; be careful, hot oil will spit). Drain on paper towels.
4.Wipe out wok with paper towels, return to medium heat and add remaining oil. When hot, add spice paste, and stir until fragrant and oil separates (8-10 minutes). Add vinegar, sugar, soy sauce and 250ml water, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until sambal sauce is slightly thickened (2-3 minutes). Add fish and stir gently to warm through. Season to taste and serve scattered with spring onion.

Candelnuts are available from Asian grocers.

Drink suggestion: Semi-sweet riesling. Drink suggestion by Max Allen.


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