Fried Fish with Balinese Chili Relish


  • 600 g sea bream (or replace snapper if preferred)
  • 2 cm fresh turmeric or 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 glove garlic
  • 1 pc lime, halved
  • 1 tsp coriander or 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 75 ml cold water
  • fresh cucumber, lettuce & tomato (for garnish)
  • 100 ml oil for deep-frying


  • 100 g shallots, thinly sliced
  • 5 gloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 pc large red chilli, chopped
  • 10 pc small red chillies / bird chillies, chopped
  • 5 pc kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
  • 1 stem lemon grass, outer leaves discarded, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp roasted/fried dried shrimp paste / terasi
  • 1 tbsp lime, juice
  • 50 ml vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp salt or to taste

Fried Fish with Balinese Chilli Relish

There are many different varieties of Indonesian fish dishes. Each is special and unique!!!. Now I introduce you a deep fried fish dish with Sambal Matah, a famous chilli relish from Balinese people. This is a simply recipe but the taste hmmmm…spicy but delicious!!! Especially for you.. chilli lovers 🙂

The secret for making delicious "Sambal Matah" is the right amount of dried shrimp paste & salt (It shall taste a bit salty) and of course by using fresh & raw ingredients includes raw garlic :-).

Tips: If you're worry about garlic breath, just chew raw celery knob/root soon after eating any meal that contains a lot of garlic. The smell will disappear quickly 🙂

Important Note: I should warn you that dried shrimp paste/terasi smells quite awful especially for Europeans, but dried shrimp paste is an essential ingredient for the authenticity as well as the best taste of Sambal Matah. My suggestion, use it only little at first if you're worry with its distinctive smell 🙂


Marinating Fish: Clean the fish, discard all the entrails, if necessary rub around with lime juice to get rid of excessive slime. Lightly slice (not so deep) on the fish to allow a better marinating process.

For marinating: Grind garlic, coriander, turmeric and salt in a mortar/grinding stone and grind until smooth.

Add 75 ml cold water. Stir to mix. Try the taste & add more salt if necessary. This step is necessary to get the optimum taste/saltiness.

Soak the fish in the mixture one by one with your hand. Make sure all sides are well soaked. Put aside for 15 minutes in a fridge to allow the marinating process.

Making Chilli Relish: Prepare all ingredients for sambal. Peel off and wash if necessary.

Slice & chop thinly: shallots, garlics, chillies, kaffir-lime leaves & lemon grass. (see picture)

Transfer all sliced ingredients into a bowl.

Add dried shrimp paste/terasi. Stir to mix.

Add 2 tbsp lime juice and stir to mix.

Last but not least add vegetable oil. Stir to mix. Add salt and adjust the taste. Put aside.

Frying the fish: Heat enough oil in a frying pan & deep-fry the fish until crispy-golden brown.

Turn it over until all sides are well cooked and crispy.

Set aside to drain. Serve fried fish right away with rice, sambal matah and garnish with fresh cucumber, lettuce and tomato.

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