Marinated pan-fried mackerel in spicy sauce

Marinated pan-fried mackerel in spicy sauce

I don’t really know what made me decide to cook today’s main lunch dish. The packing had tired me out, my parents are great cooks and well, I’m always insecure when it comes to cooking for them. But surprisingly, they liked this…and so did I.

Marinated pan-fried mackerel in spicy sauce
Serves 4-5 people

6 medium to small whole mackerel fish
Some oil (for pan frying)
Ground nut brittle for garnishing

(A) Marinate
Kaffir lime leaves + stem
Thai basil leaves + stem
Mint leaves + stem
Coarse black pepper

B) Sauce
Shrimp sambal*
Sambal belacan*
Approx 2 to 4 tablespoons of water

* These were premade and stored in the freezer/fridge.


  1. Clean each fish, leaving the head and tail intact. Marinate with pepper and salt.
  2. Crush and stuff the leaves into the belly of the fish. Crush and tear some kaffir lime leaves, and rub it all over the fish.
  3. Leave to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours or preferably overnight to several days (in the freezer).
  4. When preparing this dish, take the fish out to thaw (if it has been sitting in the freezer) and/or dry with a paper towel (if it’s straight from the refrigerator).
  5. Heat the work with a medium to high fire and drizzle some oil to prevent the fish from sticking. When the wok begins to smoke, place the pieces of fish on its side and cover the wok.
  6. Turn down the wok to a medium fire and allow the fish to cook (wok remains covered) for approximately 5 minutes.
  7. Gently flip the fish onto its other side and cover the wok again for 5 minutes.
  8. When the fish is done*, remove and put aside in a shallow dish.
  9. To prepare the sauce, dump all of ingredients (B) and fry on a medium-low fire until fragrant.
  10. Turn off the flame and spread over the fish.
  11. Sprinkle the ground nut brittle over and serve.

* To see if a fish is fully cooked, take a fork and pierce the thickest part of the flesh. Twist the fork gently. If the meat flakes, the fish is cook.

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  1. I was cooking dinner the other day and I made cincaluk pork. Was going to do a write up in my blog but realise I cook not based on recipe, but based on ‘agak-agak’ and ‘to your liking’.

    I like that you didn’t put in specific amounts for the leaves and stuff like that. Hahah, shall follow you!

    My recipe was gonna be…’put until it fits your taste’. hahah Oh well. it’s edible!

  2. Yummy! I like sambal belacan with anything… LOL. Ling, like you, my measurements are all agak-agak only. “Add to taste” style of cooking… Something that I have learned over the years is that a little goes a long way! My biggest faux pas had been using too much salt/soy sauce 🙁

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