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Ikan Panggang/Ikan Bakar Recipe (Grilled Fish with Banana Leaves)

Ikan Panggang/Ikan Bakar Recipe (Grilled Fish with Banana Leaves)


Recipe: Ikan Panggang/Ikan Bakar (Grilled Fish with Banana Leaves)

1 lb fish fillet or whole fish (for example: red snapper)

Grilled Fish Sambal:

6 oz. fresh red chilies, deseeded and cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon toasted belacan (Malaysian shrimp paste)
4 oz shallots
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar, or to taste
1/2 lime or 1 calamansi lime (limau kasturi), extract the juice
2 lemongrass, cut into thin slices
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
4 tablespoons oil

Sambal Belacan and Sliced Shallots Condiment:

3 fresh red chilies, deseeded
2 bird’s eye chilies, deseeded
1 teaspoon of toasted belacan
2 shallots, thinly sliced
Sugar to taste
Salt to taste
8 tablespoons of water + tamarind pulp (size of a small ping pong ball)


Grilled Fish Sambal

Prepare the sambal by grinding chilies, shallots, belacan and lemongrass in a food processor. Make sure the sambal paste is well blended and smooth.

Heat up a wok and “tumis” (stir-fry) the sambal paste until aromatic or when the oil separates from the sambal paste. Add the seasonings: salt, sugar, and fish sauce and do a quick stir, dish out and set aside.

Sambal Belacan and Sliced Shallots Condiment

Soak the tamarind pulp with water for 15 minutes and extract the juice. In a mortar and pestle or food processor, pound/blend the red chilies, bird’s eye chilies, and toasted belacan. Add tamarind juice, sugar, salt, and sliced shallots to the sambal. Stir well and set aside.

Grilling the Fish

Lay a few sheets of banana leaves and grease the surface of the banana leaves with some oil. Lay the fish fillet on top of the banana leaves and add about 2 – 3 tablespoons of sambal on top of the fish. Spread the sambal evenly. Place the fish on top of the grill (upper rack with indirect heat) and cover the grill. Wait for 8 minutes or so (depending on the heat) and flip the fish over to the other side. Add 2 – 3 more tablespoons of sambal on the other side of the fish. Cook for another 8 minutes or until the fish is cooked. Transfer the fish and the banana leaves to the lower rack and grill for a couple of minutes with direct heat, or when you smell the sweet aroma of burnt banana leaves. Transfer out and serve immediately with sambal belacan and sliced shallots condiment.

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37 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. sue

    The pictures are gorgeous! Although I barely understood the ingredients you mentioned. It looks so tasty and I love food that is cooked on charcoal.

  2. Claude-Olivier

    Salut ;-)

    Wouaw, it looks great !!! I have not tested that during my journey in malaysia…too bad. But I will try to do that by myself ! Yours pictures are like always so nice !!! you’re an artist ;-)


  3. pip

    ok, where is that recipe already?! not sure my keyboard can cope with my salivating much longer ;) great blog btw, and tummy growling food …

  4. Tricia Lee-Chin

    Wow! Looks sooooo delicious! This is one of my favourite! A must have when I’m back in KL! Still prefer it with Stingray!


  5. malaykid

    i miss the ikan panggang place behind istana negara.
    btw, did u grill them inside ur house? charcoal is the way to grill! ;)

  6. tigerfish

    yummy yummy :p~~~~~~(u know what are ~~~~~ hor?)
    after u “air-freshened” your kitchen with smell-friendly hors’doeurves, you are inviting this aroma back again! Prefer this kind of food lah, the peng kang(grilled) fish in banana leaves…MmmMmmmMmmmMmmmMmmm

    (the top-right corner of 5th pix…may invite imaginative wildest thoughts that it look like something though…just like how the omelet look like brain thingy…heh heh)

  7. Passionate Eater

    I can’t believe that you weren’t a “natural” cook when you first got started! Well, it is clear that you are a fast learner, the fish looks wonderful.

    You definitely have skills!

  8. fatboybakes

    wow, i would never do this myself, seems like too much work. guess when its readily available in shops, there’s more tendency toward laziness. looks fantastic as always.

  9. UnkaLeong

    tummythoz : Wait till you see the ‘gnaw’ marks on my monitor. It’s a flat screen, but you r right, still hard to swallow.

    Bee : *closes eyes, breathes deeply* Know what? I can almost smell it..almost.

  10. Chris

    Hi Bee, long time no see, just an out-of-topic comment, I’m terribly busy with work lately, just joined a new company, a BIG company. I’ve missed so many delicious posts by your good self. Lemme settle down 1st and I’ll be back soon.

  11. Rasa Malaysia

    Sue – I love anything grilled over charcoal or BBQ…it’s just the best…the burned taste and smell…mmm.

    Tummythoz – I wonder if the new Windows Vista will be able to do that. :P

    Claude – thanks! I hope you will try this out…I think this is one of the must-try in Malaysia. I once took some American friends to try this dish and they almost ate everything, including the banana leaves!

    Dr. Ve Thru – correct, I bought a pack of frozen banana leaves for my nasi lemak dish so I used them for this dish. They are almost like fresh. Smells good!

    Pip – thanks and welcome. Recipe is up. :)

    Tricia Lee-Chin – exactly, a must have.

    Malaygrill – yeah, I cheated with an indoor grill…shhh, don’t tell. :P

    Tiga – Smell-friendly food is good, but tak puas hati after eating…have to eat stinky food again…well, can’t help it. What does that picture look like? Tell me tell me?

    Simcooks – Sure, but I don’t like Tilapia, it has that fresh water muddy taste. You should be able to get frozen sole in 99 Ranch or you can also use red snapper fillet.

    PE – thanks and yes, I didn’t learn everything by observing my mother and my aunt in the kitchen, it takes a lot of practices and dedication. I will write a post about how I learn cooking soon! :)

    Flower – correct, and dollops of sambal belacan…best sekali!

    FBB – no need to cook lah, just go out at hawker center can get oredi, what for make at home? Hehe.

    Unka – First you drool, now you gnawl, perhaps you are going to jilat your LCD next…I kesian your monitor! LOL!

    Chris – welcome back and congrats about the new job. Do pop in soon okay? :)

  12. tigerfish

    RM, you really wan to know? Look again and think hard. :O
    No wan to say lah…you will know it when you know it! ;p

  13. Karen

    Yum! Thanks for posting this… we obviously grew up eating the same type of food. Every time you post something, I get a craving and have to call my mum to make it. She’s always asking where these cravings are coming from all of a sudden…

  14. lucia

    i love ikan panggang – chinese style or malay style. the sambal condiment should be nice… then the fish will be nice!

  15. Vero

    Oh gosh…..
    I usually steam my banana wraps, I’ve never tried to put it on a barbecue… I’ll try this as soon as it stops raining over here…
    That ikan panggang looks gorgeous,as usual…

  16. Rasa Malaysia

    Precious Pea – :)

    Budding Cook – Are you going to make it?

    PabloPabla – Mine is still not as good as those found at home!

    Tiga – aiya tell me lah…izzit something very geli? I think it looks like 1 slab of fish eggs.

    Karen – cool. Can you share your mom’s recipes with me? ;)

    Team BSG – Not as tempting as Melting Wok I must say. :P

    Rosa’s Yummy Yum – I like your name. Very cute. Hehe. :)

    Lucia – You’re spot on. If the sambal is good, even the fish is not marinated well, it will still taste good.

    Vero – I like mine grilled…steamed is good, but it won’t get rid of the fishy smell sometimes. :P

  17. wie

    It looks soooOooo good.

    Two questions:
    1. Which indoor grill do you have?
    2. Where do you get toasted belacan and the banana leaf?


  18. Rasa Malaysia

    Wie – for the toasted belacan, I just bought Malaysian belacan at Asian store, and then pan roast it. For the banana leaves, I got them from the Asian store too, in the frozen food section.

  19. wie

    Thanks for the info….
    Okay.. what does Malaysian belacan looks like the in the store? For what I know, they comes in blocks and usually wrapped with paper and maybe plastic too.

    Are we talking about the same thing?

  20. Rasa Malaysia

    Wie – correct, good luck finding it. I do not like Vietnamese or Thai shrimp paste…they are overly pungent for my taste plus they come in this gooey wet form…Malaysian one is dried and in block and wrapped with paper and plastic.

  21. shantihhh

    I have been searching for this recipe for a friend who lived in Malaysia years ago and she loved the “curried” skate wing in banana leaf that was grilled.

    When we were in Penang and KL last year I tried to find the recipe for her without success-so I know she is going to be excited to see this!

    I kept finding recipes for Otak Otak which is a bit like Amok in Cambodia and Haw Mok in Thailand-but each uses a varying group of spices.

    Love this type of food and I a delighted to have found your site.

    Just returned from our first trip to Cambodia and my 32 or so trip to Thailand. Love learning of these cultures via cuisines. BTW I m the Thai Food Editor on if you ever need help on things Thai-let me know!

    hanks again for potingthis recipe.

    San Francisco Bay Area

  22. Shidah

    Oh my. This grilled fish in banana leaves looks delicious. My family dont eat bone-in fish but with your grilled fish in banana leaves recipe, they will.

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