Sambal Ikan Hijau

Fish in Green Sambal

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Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

My Rendang isn't Crispy

My Rendang isn't Crispy

By Zaleha Kadir Olpin

Published 2019

  • About

We moved to Geoje Island, a shipbuilding site in South Korea in 2008. Back then, there were no Asian shops and we had to drive a good few hours to get groceries. We couldn’t even get fresh chillies, especially red ones, so I started making sambal using green chillies. After some experimenting, I came up with this green sambal dish. I hope you like it as much as my family does!


  • 2 whole seabass or 1 medium red snapper, gutted and cleaned
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt, as needed
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz / ½ cup) vegetable oil
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3–4 white onion rounds

Green Sambal

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 5-cm (2-inch) knob ginger, peeled
  • 6 shallots, peeled
  • 2 candlenuts
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 4 green chillies
  • 4 green bird’s eye chillies
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz / ½ cup) water


  • Pat the fish dry and score it on both sides.
  • Rub the fish with turmeric powder and ½ tsp salt. Set aside to marinade for 15 minutes.
  • Place the ingredients for the green sambal in a blender and process until fine. Set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Gently lower the fish into the hot oil and fry until brown and crisp on both sides. Remove and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
  • Transfer 2 Tbsp oil to a clean non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the green sambal paste and stir-fry until the oil separates.
  • Add the kaffir lime leaf, sugar and a pinch of salt. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed.
  • Add the fried fish and stir gently, making sure the fish is well-coated with the sauce.
  • Dish out and garnish with onion rounds. Serve immediately with rice and a stir-fried vegetable dish on the side.