Besides the beautiful beaches, spectacular scenery and exotic villas, Bali is definitely one of my favorite destination for their cuisine. Because of their vast influences from other Indonesian regions, Chinese and Indian, Balinese food defers slightly from Indonesian food. The island’s predominant religion is Hinduism so besides chicken and seafood, pork is widely consumed too.
Whenever I visit Bali, I HAVE to go to Jimbaran Beach for their grilled seafood. Watching the beautiful sunset and dining on the soft, sandy beach is something we can’t get in our everyday lives (unless you are one of those Jersey Shore celebs). The restaurants are located along the beach and you get to choose your seafood. You could also observe how the grilling is done (yes, I hovered around that area for quite a fair bit) – open fire grill and lots of spices, kecap manis and chilli, of course.
Since I don’t foresee us going to Bali anytime soon, I recreated one of my favorite grilled seafood – Balinese Ikan Bakar (literally means burned fish) for Tiger and my in-laws at BNF kitchen. The charred sweet and spicy fish definitely invoked memories of Jimbaran, minus the clouds of smoke in the kitchen (win!). Since I do not own a home BBQ grill, I used a non-stick grill pan. Cleaning up is so much easier and more manageable (double win!). Besides fish, you could also prepare with squid or prawn.
1 large / 2 medium sized whole fish (about 600 g) – either Snapper, Tilapia, Seabass, etc (I’m using yellow tail)
Juice from 1 lime
3 candlenuts (buah keras)
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
¼ cup (60 ml) kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
1 tbsp (15 g) butter or margarine – melted
2 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
Serves 2 – 3 hungry persons
Recipe source: Gutomna
Clean and pat dry the fish with paper towels. Use a sharp knife and make a few deep scores on the both sides of the fish.
Spread the lime juice all over the fish to get rid of the fishy smell.
Using a mortar & pestle or grinder, pound all the marinade spices together and mix in the oil.
Spread the marinade all over the fish (both sides) making sure to go in between the scored marks.
Cover and let them hang out in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Heat up your griddle or grill pan. Add some oil to make sure to prevent the fish from sticking.
Gently put in the fish and grill until cooked. Different fish vary in different sizes so cooking time might differ.
Mine took about 4 mins per side. Avoid flipping them over too soon and too many times to prevent sticking.
When the fish is about done, brush the sweet sauce all over the fish and continue to cook for another min.
Serve warm with your favorite sambal sauce. I made a simplified version of the traditional sambal matah (Balinese raw sambal).
2 red chillies
1 stalk lemongrass
½ tsp shrimp paste (lightly toasted in pan)
4 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
Pinch of salt to taste
Chop all the ingredients finely and mix together with oil. Season with salt and let it marinate for at least 10 mins before serving.