Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sambal Fish (With Tortillas)

I so loved that bowl of yummilicious Sambal Prawns that I quickly made the same dish again, but with fish instead. :) Call me unoriginal, but I'm all for making spin-offs with things I like! That philosophy extends particularly to shoe shopping ... if I like the cut and feel of a pair of shoes, I usually get the same pair in a few colours. ;)

Sambal Fish and Tortillas? That's what I call fusion, peeps!

I ditched steamed white rice in favour of tortillas, just for a change, but mainly because I saw some really awesome ones at my favourite lovelies - Penny's and Trix's. Thank you, dearies! I went with Penny's version for this because I had so much coriander in the fridge ... and coriander is just perfect with fish.

Recipe for Tortillas
(from Jeroxie)

- 200g of flour
- Pinch of salt
- 225ml of water (it varies, just add a bit at the time if it is too dry)
* Note: I halved the measurements and it yielded just enough tortillas for 2 persons.

1. Mix the flour, very finely chopped coriander leaves, salt and water. Work the dough till it becomes quite soft. Divide into 1-inch balls.

2. Flatten the balls and roll it out flat and quite thin. No oil is required. Place the thin dough onto a heated pan (lower heat) and allow it to sit about 40secs on each side. It's quite fun to see it bloat and balloon as it cooks!

3. Place a towel over the tortillas as you continue making the rest.

Honestly though, I still prefer pratas to tortillas. Pratas are greasy and flaky, that's why! But I'm glad I gave tortillas a shot, cos you don't know till you've tried. :)

For this Sambal Fish, you can use any type of firm white fish. I used snapper fillets. I also made the tortillas small, so that I could fold and devour whole. ;) Kinda like eating sushi ... toss the whole thing in! Nom nom nom.

Recipe for Sambal Fish
(adapted from inSing)

Serves 2-4

- 200g to 300g firm, white fish fillets
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 300g grated coconut, squeezed for thick cream (about 1/4 to 2/3 cup), or use coconut milk from packets or cans (I used about 1/2 cup coconut cream from a packet)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon assam pulp (tamarind)
- 1/4 cup water
- Handful of chopped coriander

Spice mixture*:
- 5 buah keras, aka candlenuts (if you don't have candlenuts, use macademias)
- 10 fresh red chillies
- 1 stalk serai (lemon grass), use only the bottom 2 cm at the root end
- 1/2 teaspoon belacan (shrimp paste)
- 10 shallots, peeled
* Note: If, like me, you have ready made rempah in the freezer, just use 2 to 3 tbsps and you'll get your piping hot dish in even lesser time.

1. Pound or grind all the spice ingredients except for the shallots. When the paste is semi fine, add the shallots and grind to make a fine paste. You add shallots last as they are the softest ingredient and if mixed with the hard ingredients, will prevent the harder ingredients from being ground to a fine paste.

2. Rinse fish fillets and season with a little salt.

3. Mix assam pulp with water, knead and strain through a sieve to remove seeds. Retain assam water.

4. Heat a wok or saucepan, add the oil and when it is hot, add the spice mixture and stir fry for 3-4 minutes till fragrant and the oil has exuded.

5. Add fish fillets and gently stir fry to coat them with the spice mixture.

6. Add coconut milk and tamarind water, coriander leaves, and bring to a slow boil. Cook fish fillets through ... about 4 mins. Taste test and add salt and sugar if required.

7. Time to eat!

See the sad life of a food blogger? Gotta cook, style, photograph AND pose with my own food! :( Thank goodness the eating makes up for everything.


  1. Okay Ju,
    I will definitely be making this recipe. You have the best dishes and photography, I need to remember to come by at least once or twice a week for my whole week's menus.

  2. Your Tortillas kind of reminds me of Taiwanese Onions pancake. You really hard working making your own tortillas. Me, I just buy them from the supermarket. I like the east meet west team :)

  3. That is what fusion is all about! Such an attractive dish!

  4. wow. wonderful clicks dear.. I am drooling seeing those lovely clicks.. Assam fish looks super.. Tortillas looks great with those coriander leaves in it...

  5. I was just thinking about making roti prata now perhaps I will change my mind.

  6. Tortillas remind me of chapatis that are eaten with keema. It uses 'atta' flour(whole wheat flour) and it's made the same way. It's healthier than pratas. :)
    Lovely pics, attractive food, nice hand too!

  7. looking at the first pic, I thought it was a chicken drumstick.. !! :)
    like the tortillas, simple and straight forward ;)

  8. I thought so too! Your tortillas looks like scallion pancakes.

  9. wow and you made your own tortillas too! love your sambal prawn and fish, and your photography too =)

  10. I love this combo. Actually sambal anything is good!

  11. perfect combination! I can eat sambal with everything but this is a great idea.

  12. Just stumbled on your website recently and thought I'd leave a note to tell you that you photos are beautiful and your write-ups are very interesting. I really enjoyed reading your posts. :)

  13. Molto interewssante questa ricetta, le tortillas con il tuo pesce una vera prelibatezza. Un abbraccio Daniela.

  14. Sambal is the best and I can eat it with anything. I'm like you, I normally buy the same cut of clothes if they fit me well!

  15. SAmbal fish tortillas! clever. I can try and make this since I have a 2KG masa

  16. I like your idea of cooking sambal with seafoods. The tortilla wrap in the last picture is very attractive...want to have a bite!

  17. Waw!! Home made tortillas!! Waw!!
    I love the whole meal!! Simply the best flavours are used in here!

    Fantastic pictures too!

  18. LOL!!! Now we both have hand shots on our blog! Yes, we have to wear all of the hats. At least you have people there who can be "hold-the-bowl-of-X" person. I live alone, so I have to do it all by myself. Anyway the tortillas look amazing. I love the adding seasonings you put in there. The fish looks scrumptious and flavorful, too.

  19. Gorgeous Ju...simply gorgeous!

  20. Simply love the fusion combination, looks deli~

  21. Love the tortilla idea and great idea to have it with the sambal fish. Haha .. agree with you on the "life of a food blogger". Have to work first before eating!

  22. I love the way you serve sambal fish with tortillas! This would be a great dish to make when do buffet style dinner hosting!

  23. i can imagine it bursting with flavor! just lovely!

  24. Hey, there's a reason that spin-offs are so popular - if it works the first time why not try it again with a twist?! Looks delicious.

  25. Hi all! Thanks for dropping by. Looks like there are loads of sambal lovers out there! :)

  26. You see how behind I am? I am only now reading your sweet shout out! I am honored to have inspired you in any way, my dear. I am absolutely drooling over this. Aren't spicy things with tortillas so addictive? I am craving this dish!!!