Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ikan Goreng Cili Garam (Fried Fish with Chili Paste)

Nyonya Food is often associated with spices and spiciness, a unique combination of Chinese and Malay cuisine and also some influence from Portuguese cuisine. My sisters and myself grew up on these delicious foods, and we all love spicy food, thanks to our beloved late mom, who was a very good cook.

This simple dish of Ikan Goreng Cili Garam (Fried Fish with Chili Paste) is one of the most simplest and tastiest dish in a Nyonya household. There are many versions to it, and this is my mom's version.   She used to cook this each week as we all love this dish! When we were young, chicken and meat are only served mostly during special festival or Chinese New Year, as they are much more expensive to buy. We eat fish very often, really very fresh fish, bought from the fishermen as we live near the sea. I remember the times when we would follow my mom to the shore sometimes when the fisherman are back from the sea. She would then choose the fish and we would play by the beach, life is so much simpler back then!



This simple dish has only two ingredients for the chili paste, onions and fresh red chili. For the fish, my mom would sometimes use stingray, snapper, mackerel and the best is wolf herring. Wolf Herring is extremely tasty but has so many bones that it is a little difficult to eat,  the best cutlery are your fingers! I bought a slice of Wolf Herring and cut it half  right in the middle horizontally to come up with two pieces which I fried till really crispy. The fish need not be fried to crisp, but we loved it that way, hmmm, the smell of fried crispy fish is fantastic!



The onions and red chili are blended and fried in oil till fragrant and poured over the fried fish. We are blessed with a modern gadget which I cannot do without, a blender! I had my fair share of pounding using the mortar and pestle and even our own batu giling (grindstone) when we were young. Imagine what our mothers have gone through without any modern gadget in their kitchen, nowadays we never seem to have enough of gadgets, there's always something new!



This is a really tasty dish that is really good with plain white rice. Each time when I cooked this, I would always think of my mom. And each time when I eat this, I would always marvel at the simplicity and the deliciousness of this dish, and say a silent thank you to my mom. If anyone asked me what my favourite fish dish is, this will be it, definitely at the top of my list.



Even my kids love this dish, though when I'm cooking for them, I would choose a fish with lesser bones. I could just have this one dish to go with rice, for me, I do not need any other dish. And yes, more rice, please!


I'm sharing this with 


Ikan Goreng Cili Garam (Fried Fish with Chili Paste)
1 piece fish
8-10 fresh red chilies, seeded
6-8 shallots,
salt to taste
1/2 cup oil

  1. Fry the fish till cooked and crispy on both sides. Remove to a serving plate. Reserve oil, it is very fragrant from the fried fish.
  2. Blend the red chillies and shallots together to a paste. 
  3. Heat the reserved oil and fry the paste, seasoned with some salt to taste, until fragrant and dry over medium heat, about 12-15 minutes. 
  4. Pour the chili paste over the fried fish. Enjoy!

27 comments:

  1. looks delicious with hot fluffy rice! :)

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  2. Thank you for leaving an interesting comment on my latest post. As I wrote I am in two minds about this monument, and i agree that after 11 years it has become one of Paris' landmarks. So what to do??
    No problem for not visiting my blog for a while. I was offline for 5 long weeks due to connection issues after moving home...incredible but true!So i have not be visiting any blog either for all this time...and i am so glad to be back online!!
    Kind regards
    P.S. Thanks for all these recipes, they always look gorgeous!

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  3. Looks spicy .....mouthwatering fish recipe! I am going to try it!

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  4. We are fish lovers but this particular paste sounds really different. just onion, chilly and red chilly powder. Looks very spicy and my kind of fish
    Deepa
    Hamaree Rasoi

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  5. very simple recipe..but looks flavourful n tempting!!

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  6. I know that I would love this fish dish. As is always the case, it is the most simple dishes and the ones that connect us with our "food history" that are always the best.
    Sue xo

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  7. Slurp,mouthwatering here,especially that chilly paste..

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  8. The chilli paste sounds delicious. I'll have to try it!

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  9. Delicious, very simple recipe, I loved. Good night. Marta.

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  10. Joy, what a great dish to share with everyone at the Heath n Soul hop, thanks so much!

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  11. Una receta exquisita con salsa muy buena se ve sabrosa y tentadora,cariños y abrazos.

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  12. I guess this is the way to flavor up the fish?

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  13. This fish looks and sounds fantastic! Love that chili paste, too! Thanks for another great recipe!

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  14. First time here..u have a wonderful space with mouthwatering recipes and pics...Happy to follow you..Visit mine as time permits...
    Sunanda's Kitchen

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  15. This is exactly how my late mom and now, my sisters and I cook our cili garam and wolf herring is the best fish to use...especially the eggs!I'm a nyonya too and from Malacca.Nice to see a true blue Nyonya recipe not being messed up.

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  16. i attempted frying of fish and is not easy to fry it so nicely. yours look so crispy and nice! (: and the chilli paste look so flavourful and yummy!! (:

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  17. Great post :) Maybe I can make this for my mum when I head to Texas next week. I'm gonna spend two weeks up there to take care of her because she's leaving the rehab center on Sunday. She loves friend fish and I think this will be perfect for my patient! Thanks for sharing :)

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  18. Mmm, i love this kind of dish! Sometimes i also do it like you. Better still if eat with hands! Batu giling!! i almost forgotten about that, i dont think there's still anymore here in ipoh!

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  19. Love fish and this look delicious!
    Gloria
    http://canelakitchen.blogspot.com

    I have to comment like anonymous, blogger have porblems again! gloria

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  20. I'll have to cut back on the chilis a bit, But I know my family would love this. It looks delicious. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  21. Your spicy fish looks excellent! I love that you fried the fish first - so succulent.

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  22. My dear friend
    Your words moved me too!
    The reference to your mother and your childhood!
    The best of me eating the fish. And I like crunchy!
    And I get fish, to do with tomato, onion and parsley, and then the oven!
    Many greetings and kisses

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  23. I love spicy food too, and I am envious of your mum being a good cook... this dish looks really delicious...

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  24. Hi everyone,
    Thank you for all your lovely words and for taking the time to stop by. Here's wishing a great weekend to all of you! :)

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  25. This looks so sedap! Is wolf herring ikan parang (saito)?

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  26. What a wonderful and fragrant dish...I love this chili paste, so simple but such flavor :)

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