Sunday, May 12, 2024

Ikan Balado


Ikan balado - the star of Indonesian dinner tables. It's basically a spicy fish dish that packs a punch. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I reckon "balado" refers to the spicy sauce for any dish that begins and is included balado in the recipe name. There’s also Ikan Cabe Ijo, which is quite similar, but it swaps out the red chilies for green ones, giving it a green chili spiciness flavor profile.

 

You know, Indonesians and their love for chilies - they're inseparable, just like how Ms. Nava from Malaysia can't live without her spicy dishes. It's like if there's no heat in the food, it's just not the same. I learned about ikan balado during my trips to Indonesia and from chatting with Indonesians here in Malaysia. It's fascinating how both Malaysians and Indonesians go crazy for Sambal Belacan, or Sambal Terasi as they call it.

Now, when you're talking about Indonesian food, you can't miss Nasi Padang, right? Nasi Padang, somewhat similar to our Malaysian Nasi Campur, often features ikan (STEAMED FISH RECIPES) balado among its spread. The cooking method for balado, or sambal as we call it in Malaysia, is pretty similar. But here's the twist: how you cook the fish can vary. You can either fry it first or let it simmer in the spicy sauce.

 

Before we dive into my version of ikan balado, let me tell you - it might not be exactly (SIAMESE LAKSA) like what you'd get from an Indonesian kitchen. Ingredients might be a tad different, but hey, just take a look at the photos of my version. It's mouthwatering and fiery, with the fish nestled in that spicy sauce. So, grab your plate of rice, because ikan balado is best enjoyed with a side of steaming hot rice.


Ingredients For the fish
1 medium-sized black pomfret (about 400g), gutted and scored on both sides 
1/2 tablespoon corn flour 
1/2 tablespoon rice flour 
Salt, to taste 
Oil, for frying

 

For the balado sauce:

5 cloves garlic, chopped

5 shallots, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 tablespoon blended/ground dried chili paste

2-3 red/bird's eye chilies, sliced (optional)

1 teaspoon belacan powder or roasted and pounded belacan (shrimp paste)

Lime juice, as needed

2-3 sprigs coriander leaves, sliced

Salt, to taste

 

Method:

Rub the fish with rice flour, corn flour, and salt.

Deep fry the fish until golden brown, then remove and place on a serving plate.

In the same pan, leave about 2 tablespoons of oil.

Sauté the shallots and garlic until fragrant.

Add the chopped tomatoes, chili paste, and belacan powder.

Cook until the oil separates.

Pour in 3 to 4 tablespoons of water and season with salt and lime juice.

Stir well.

Turn off the heat and add the sliced bird's eye chilies and coriander leaves.

Pour the balado sauce over the fried fish and serve immediately.





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