Deep fried fish with sambal bawang


Sometime ago, I got fishes. Actually, those fishes were bartered ‘item’ since I had made 5 pages of speech for a tuna conference that was held in Bali. I wrote 5 of horizontally folded papers (US Legal size), not a long complicated speech, but only a warm welcome speech to the audiences that were mostly foreign friends. But, still, they sent a small box consisted of these 5 beautiful fishes. My colleagues told me those fishes must be fresh, delicious, and good quality kind because they sent me ‘the exported kind’. You’re so lucky, she said, they gave you a bonus for your works.

It reminded me something, I made speech for tuna conference and they sent me some of their product. I ever made welcome speech for waste management meeting in Bali. Thanks God, they didn’t send me any samples. I planned to make deep fried fish and simple Sambal Bawang (literally translated as Shallot Sambal)

On weekend, I clean the whole fish, scraped off their scales using fork and got rid off the entrails (pretty easily), and cut the whole fish into parts.

I will write the whole (not really) simple process for you).


1 about 500 grams whole fish (snapper or grouper)

Coconut oil for deep frying (you can also use rice bran oil)

Spice for rubbing the raw fish, grind all into paste:

½ tablespoon of coriander

1 cm of turmeric

2 cloves of garlic

1 teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon of sugar

Juice of 1 calamansi or 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Sambal Bawang:

2 shallots (peeled it and cut roughly)

11 eyebird chilies (half into two)

½ teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of sugar

Juice of 1 lime juice

hot oil (preferably, oil that has been used to fry the fish)

How to make it:

  1. Rub the fish with the paste, put in the fridge for about 15 minutes (or you can fry it right away). I like to do that, because it will give the fish time to absorb the spice into their tender flesh).
  2. Deep-fry it until it is golden brown outside. Strain the fish or put the cuts onto kitchen papers.
  3. Make the ‘sambal’. I have adopted some of friend’s and family’s advice of making sambal. First, always crush all ingredients together, all at once, don’t crush it one by one, like, first the shallots, second, the chilies. No, not like that. Crush it all at once (get all your emotion out in the process). One advice that is most likely a myth (but I follow it, though), in making good sambal, the amount of eyebird chilies should always be odd number of amount, like 3, 5, 7, 9 and so on (sorry, I didn’t begin with 1. For chilies in sambal, 1 is almost none for me).
  4. Deep-fry the shallot and eye bird chilies in the heated oil until wilt (not too long, half cooked, may be about 30 seconds in the process).
  5. Put them in the stone mortar along with salt, sugar. Crush it all at once, but not into a paste, just roughly crush it. Then, pour 2 tablespoon of hot oil to crushed sambal (you will hear a sizzling sounds). Move the sambal to saucer and squeeze the fresh lime juice over it.
  6. Serve the deep fried fish with rice, sliced cucumber and sambal bawang.
  7. Yum! Selamat Makan! Happy eating!


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