Fish and Tomato Sambal My Easy-Style

2013-05-26
Fish and tomato sambal malay style
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Ingredients

  • 500gm fish – Mackerel or Tuna chunks
  • 2 medium to large tomatoes – cut into chunky wedges
  • 2 dessertspoon tomato paste
  • 2 dessertspoon tomato sauce
  • 2 dessertspoon Sambal Olek or chilli paste of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon/lime juice 
  • 1 teaspoon grated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 3 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 100gm onion – halved and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup each of red and green capsicum (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste 
  • ¼ cup water 

Method

Select your choice of oily fish that’s chunky and meaty. I chose Mackerel in Shanghai because of its availability.  Wash the fish well and cut into chunk-size pieces or slices.  In a pan on medium to high heat add oil and onions then cook till the onions become slightly soft.  Now add the ginger and garlic and stir till golden brown.  Now add the paste, sauce and the Sambal.  Cook stirring for about five minutes and lower the heat if it starts to burn.  Now add the sugar, salt, pepper, lemon juice, tomato and water, cook for a further five minutes more. Stir all ingredients well and now place the fish slices turning them over to coat with the sauce.  Cook till the fish is cooked on one side a couple of minutes then turn the fish over carefully and cook for further minute or two. Total cooking of the fish will depend on the thickness of the fish and the way the fish was cut.  Towards the last few minutes of cooking add the capsicum if used.

Variations and Suggestions

I was inspired in producing this recipe due to mackerel being so readily available in Asia and at my local Shanghai market too when living there. The residents of Shanghai I was told loved the sweetness of tomatoes, hence it’s availability there.  I was also told by many locals there that tomato was their favourite fruit/vegetable because of its sweetness.

My mother loved fish such as mackerel because I remember it well in my childhood when fish was delivered to our doorstep by a man with a basket on a bike and my mum too cooked a similar dish with canned mackerel or sardines especially when the fresh variety wasn’t available. The canned variety served the purpose well for those days when our relatives would drop in unannounced in Kuala Lumpur as it often happened then and most probably now too! Sambal Olek can be found in Asian or large supermarkets and it adds a little spiciness to a dish.  For those who would like this dish to be hotter; then just add one teaspoon of ground chili/powder or dried chili flakes during the cooking stages of the paste/sambal or some cut red chilies while cooking the onions. Traditionally most sambal ingredients are combined in a blender and pureed till smooth mine is a quick version not necessarily too hot either.

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