Kitchen by TILAH

Oelek Grilled Fish (Ikan Bakar Oelek)

Still recovering from asthma, I am back to basics yet again.  Still panting whenever I strained myself so I try to limit the work that I do in the kitchen.  However, I had been thinking of my Oelek Grilled Fish for days so I thought of grilling some fish and  that would have meant I wanted to cook, sick or not!  Besides, Oelek Grilled Fish is quite simple and easy to make.  Not so much work needed.  My husband drove me to the market yesterday morning and I bought some yellowtail scad and my all time favourite, mackerel. 

I used my double sided happy call pan to do the grilling.  Lunch was oh so good!  I cooked white rice and to go with it were my grilled yellowtail scad stuffed with sambal oelek and Chinese Cabbage in Coconut Cream (it is called Sawi Putih Masak Lemak in Malay). The grilled fish tasted good right to the bones but please don't eat the bones!  I just like sucking on them at the end of it all especially the head.  Oh yes!  I am gross!  But hey, good food are meant to be enjoyed so savour it while you can. 

For those who are not aware, "Sambal Oelek" means fried chilli grounded into a paste or fried grounded chilly paste or just chilli grounded into a paste.  Don't get lost in translation ;p but some of us might just get confused!   Well basically, they are all grounded chilli. The differences lie in whether you fry them before or after you ground them or you ground them without frying them at all.  Modern generation like us nowadays would generally use the food processor to do all the grinding in order to save time. Those more traditional amongst us however, would usually prefer to pound their sambal oelek in a mortar and pestle.

I reached office at 8.00 am today and I am in the office right now as I am typing this post.  I need to prepare some stuff for what I must say would be quite a long and tough day at work.  I shall stop now and get to this recipe of mine.  For those of you who have seen the picture on my Facebook page and are anxiously waiting and looking forward to make this Oelek Grilled Fish, have a blast!


4-6 pieces of yellowtail scad (cleaned and set aside)
6 red chillies
3 green chillies
4 shallots
4 garlics
tamarind extract from about a handful of tamarind
sugar to taste
salt to taste
2 teaspoons of Ajinamoto (optional)


1.  Assemble the green and red chillies together with the shallots and garlics in a plate and set aside.

2.  Cut a slit at the back on both sides of the yellowtail scad as in the picture above.

3.  Cut some strips on the surface of both sides of the yellowtail scad to allow even cooking during grilling.  Set aside.

4.  Heat up some oil in a pan with a lid.  Once oil is heated, add in the red and green chillies, garlics and shallots.  Cover the pan (or yourself, whichever is safest, hehe...) with the lid as the oil will be popping ferociously but do lift up the lid from time to time to give a stir.  

5.  Once the ingredients in the pan have stopped popping, you can remove the lid and stir fry the ingredients until the shallots and garlics are caramelized.

6.  You can off fire once the ingredients look like the above picture.  Leave for five minutes for the heat to subside and oh, save the oil used for frying.

7.  Add some of the fried ingredients (as you will not be able to fit all at one go) in the food processor.  Add some salt and sugar to taste.  For those who prefer, you can also add in Ajinamoto.  Grind the ingredients, then add in the rest of the ingredients and grind again until you have grounded all of the fried ingredients.

8.  Once you are done grinding, do a taste check and see if you need to add any more sugar and salt to your taste (there must be a good combination of salty and sweet taste). Set aside.  By the way, this sambal oelek is also good enough as a condiment or to go with everything else.  The taste is a killer.  Try it!

9. Take a  pot or plate and pour in the tamarind extract.  Season all your fish pieces thoroughly with the tamarind extract.  Then thoroughly rub some salt to taste on your fish pieces.  This is the part that makes your fish taste so good! The tamarind extract really adds flavour.

10.  Using a teaspoon, stuff the sambal oelek into the back slits of the fish pieces.  I always make extra of the sambal oelek as I just cannot have enough of it and I will pinch off the flesh of the grilled fish with my hands and dab it on the sambal oelek again during eating. :)  I love good stuff!

11.  Now your fish is ready for grilling.  I used the Happy Call double sided pan to grill my fish pieces.

12.  Grill your fish pieces on both sides until your fish pieces are cooked through.  Drizzle the remaining oil used to fry the chillies onto the grilled fish pieces before serving.

Enjoy as it is or with white rice as the Oelek Grilled Fish kills you!  Happy Kitchen-ing!!


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