Golden Turmeric Fish (Indonesian baked fish recipe)
Recipe video above. This homestyle Indonesian baked fish recipe is made with a Turmeric Curry Paste slathered on to white fish fillets which are then baked, and served topped with an Indonesian-style tomato salsa called Sambal Tomat.The curry paste is a gorgeously vibrant yellow colour thanks to the turmeric, and packed with fragrant and fresh South-East Asian curry flavours (as opposed to big, in-your-face-spice like Indian curries!).Sambal Tomat comes in all forms, from complex versions with flavourings like shrimp paste, to simpler and fresh ones like this one. We only need a simple one, the curry paste has plenty of flavour!
Course: Fish, Mains
Cuisine: Asian, Indonesian
Keyword: Indonesian fish, Turmeric fish, turmeric recipe, yellow curried fish
Quick lime marinade:
4x 180g / 6ozwhite fish fillets, medium to thick, skinless (Note 1)
Turmeric Curry Paste:
1small eschalot(~1/4 cup roughly chopped) (Note 2)
1garlic clove, finely grated*
2tspfresh turmeric, finely grated* or substitute powdered (Note 3)
1tspginger, peeled and finely grated*
1 1/2tbspmacadamia nuts(Note 4)
1kaffir lime leaf, torn by hand (Note 5)
2.5cm / 1"piece of fresh lemongrass, white part only, cut into 1cm / 0.2" pieces (Note 6)
Sambal Tomat Topping:
250g / 8ozcherry tomatoes, quartered
1large red chilli (cayenne pepper), deseeded and finely diced (adjust to taste, Note 7)
2tspcoriander/cilantro leaves, finely chopped (plus more for garnish)
Prep: Preheat oven to 200°C / 390°F (180°C fan). Line a tray with baking / parchment paper.
Quick fish marinade: Sprinkle fish with salt and drizzle with lime juice. Leave in fridge while making paste - just 10 minutes is fine.
Turmeric Curry Paste: Place ingredients in a container that fits a stick blender. Then blend with stick until smooth, using extra water if needed until it is a paste consistency (ie. can be slathered on fish).
Slather and bake: Smear paste onto surface of fish (not underside). Bake for 15 minutes until the internal temperature is 55°C/131°F (medium, just cooked but not raw at all, very juicy).
Rest: Remove from oven and remove fish from tray (otherwise it keeps cooking). Rest 3 minutes, serve over rice with Sambal Tomat (below) and extra fresh coriander.
Sambal Tomat Topping: Heat oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add tomato, chilli and salt. Sauté 2 minutes until tomato is slightly softened. Stir through coriander, serve over fish.
* I use a microplane for this, one of my most used kitchen tools. More on this here.1. Fish fillets suitable for this recipe – any firm white fish fillets that are ~1.5 - 2.5cm/0.6 - 1″ thick:
John Dory (pictured in this post)
Deep sea perch (orange roughy)
Pollock (aka coley)
Striped bass (not all bass is suitable), gummy shark
Tilapia – the thick part (reduce oven cook time to 12 minutes)
Salmon or ocean trout - will work but not the best for the type of curry paste (which is a bit too fresh and light for these stronger flavoured fish).Avoid: Lean fish (swordfish, tuna, kingfish); small/thin fish fillets (flounder, sole, plaice, whiting); fragile fish (hake, hoki), oily fish (mullet, mackerel, sardines). See in post for more extensive list.Skin on or off? Either is fine, it really won’t affect the bake time. But the skin won’t be crispy. If this is a turn-off for you, just eat the flesh and leave the skin.2. Eschalot - Also known as French onions, and are called “shallots” in the US. They look like baby onions, but have purple-skinned flesh.3. Turmeric – An aromatic fresh spice used in Asian cooking. Looks like a bit like ginger on the outside and bright orange on the inside. It's well known these days for its health benefits. The flavour is mild but actually quite bitter, its primary use in cooking is mostly for healthfulness and for colour. IT STAINS so use gloves and avoid porous surfaces once cut (like plastic cutting boards, stone benches).To prepare, scrape off skin using spoon or vegetable peeler, then grate using a microplane straight into a ceramic bowl.Turmeric Powder sub - As it's not primarily for flavour, you can substitute powdered turmeric here. Start with 1/2 tsp and add up to 3/4 tsp if you feel it needs more colour / turmeric flavour.4. Macadamia nuts - This takes the place of candlenuts which is an ingredient used in Indonesian to add richness and thickness to things such as curry pastes. They are hard to source so I just use Macadamia Nuts which have a similar texture, plus adds terrific flavour.Substitutions - I hadn't tried, but confident that sunflower seeds or pepitas will work just fine. 5. Kaffir Lime Leaves are the leaves of a kaffir lime tree. It's used to add earthy citrus flavours into Asian food. They are sold at large grocery stores (Australia: Coles, Woolies, Harris Farm) and Asian stores. Dried leaves is an ok substitute (same amount), but I really urge you to try to find fresh if you can because it adds that "something-something" that really gives it that "restaurant touch". Freezes 100% perfectly, I always have a stash! See in post for list of other recipes using Kaffir Lime Leaves.6. Lemongrass - To prepare, cut the top half off and discard (it's too tough). Peel the reedy green layers off the remainder to reveal the softer white part. Slice as needed for the recipe. If lemongrass is hard to come by, you can use Lemongrass Paste: use 2 teaspoons.7. Rice options:
8. Recipe source: This rather unique fish dish comes to you via a chef I know, sourced from an Indonesian chef who used to make this for staff meals. I figure if chefs rave about a dish, it's gotta be something a bit special! It's not special as in fancy-pants, but special as in something a little different, loaded with beautifully fresh and vibrant South-East Asian flavours. 9. Nutrition per serving, excluding rice.