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Barbecued turmeric snapper with sambal matah

Australian Gourmet Traveller fast recipe for barbecued turmeric snapper with sambal matah.

By Emma Knowles
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 10 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
  • Print
Barbecued turmeric snapper with sambal matah
Cooking whole fish on the barbecue is one of the great joys of summer. For this simple Indonesian-inspired version, most of the prep is in the spicy sambal. Serve with steamed rice and a crunchy bean sprout salad.


  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 baby snapper, skin slashed (about 750gm each)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 30 gm fresh turmeric, coarsely chopped
  • For drizzling: grapeseed oil
Sambal matah
  • 1 tsp belacan (see note)
  • 4 red or golden shallots, thinly sliced
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
  • 3 each red and green birdseye chillies, thinly sliced, or to taste
  • 2 lemongrass stalks (white part only), thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Juice of 2 limes


  • 1
    Heat barbecue to high heat. Pour lemon juice over fish, rubbing into cavities and incisions. Finely chop garlic and turmeric in a small food processor with 1 tsp sea salt, spread over fish and set aside.
  • 2
    For sambal matah, enclose belacan in foil and roast on a barbecue or in a hot oven until pungent (2-3 minutes). Crumble into a bowl, add remaining ingredients, season to taste with salt and set aside.
  • 3
    Wipe excess marinade from fish, drizzle with a little oil, then barbecue, turning occasionally, until cooked through (8-10 minutes). Serve hot with sambal matah.


Note Belacan is a shrimp paste available from Asian grocers.