Chilli Sambal Black Pomfret

One of the commonest fish found at wet markets in Malaysia has got to be the black pomfret (the cheaper cousin of the usual silver pomfret). The black pomfret, however, usually has a slightly more “fishy” taste / smell and therefore, it is not usually steamed compared to its more expensive cousin. At home, our usual way of cooking the black pomfret is to fry it after marinating it with a little salt. In case you are wondering whether I eat fish, yes I do. Just that I usually have them fried with simple salt marinade and I thought it is TOO SIMPLE a dish and that’s why I don’t post them up on this blog.

Anyway, with black pomfret, some cook it with assam-based gravy and some with tau-cheo based gravy. Mine here is more a simple chilli sambal which is “pasted” on top of the fish. The chilli sambal can also be considered a dip and you can serve it using another sauce plate in case you don’t want to spice up the fish (if you have little kids around) by smearing it with the chilli sambal.

Oh, the picture looks kinda pathetic without garnishing or “restaurant” look. After all, this is supposed to be home-cooked food. No time for all that. I just wanted a quick meal and this is what was served on the table ๐Ÿ™‚ Sprinkle some coriander leaves or julienned carrots / chilli or whatever you fancy to make it look more presentable ๐Ÿ™‚

This is my recipe for Black Pomfret with Chilli Sambal Paste




  • 1 black pomfret (rinsed and cleaned. Sprinkle a little salt and marinade it for 15 minutes. Rinse the salt very quickly before frying. If the pomfret is very thick in flesh, make a cut across the flesh till the bone so that it will cook faster)
  • Cornflour (lightly dust the pomfret before frying)
  • Oil for frying


Chilli Sambal


  • 3 to 5 red chillis (remove seeds)
  • 5 bulbs shallots
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 cm galangal (lengkuas)
  • 2 cm ginger
  • 1 large onion
  • Juice from 3 pieces of lime
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil



Blend chilli sambal ingredients (except cooking oil) together till it becomes a paste.

Heat 2 tablespoons cooking oil on medium heat and lightly saute chilli sambal paste till fragrant (about 3 minutes or more) taking care not to burn the paste. Add salt and / or sugar to taste. Set aside.

Fry the pomfret in a clean wok till golden brown.

Place fried pomfret on serving plate and “paste” the chilli sambal over it.



technorati tags: pomfret fish recipe asian chinese malaysia tags: pomfret fish recipe asian chinese malaysia

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  1. 1
    June 11th, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    It’s quite simple. But wat is lengkuas? please advise, later can try it..hehe

  2. 2
    June 11th, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    still looks pretty good, just add some greens will do. ๐Ÿ˜€

    I prefer the white pomphret though

  3. 3
    June 11th, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    jenny : You can read about galangal here. It is also known as yellow ginger in chinese.

    KY : White pomfret is great for steaming! Always liked them steamed teo-chew styled.

  4. 4
    June 12th, 2007 at 5:22 am

    hmmm… your sambal pomfret reminds me of my mom’s cooking … I miss it so much. I have been craving for this dish for the past 1 1/2 years living overseas. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I’m going to cook this soon. Yummy. Can you suggest any other type of fish to replace pomfret. They don’t have pomfret where I’m living at the moment. Thanks

  5. 5
    June 12th, 2007 at 10:37 am

    CookingNinja : Er…I won’t know what kind of fish you get in France where you live. But I guess any type of “fleshy” fish would be suitable. Not the expensive type like cod or salmon as that would not do justice to the original sweetness of the fish.

  6. 6
    The Cooking Ninja
    June 12th, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    They do sell Bar or seabass. Would that do?

  7. 7
    June 12th, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    Cooking Ninja : The only Bar I know is the one where they serve drinks or the folks known as lawyers. LOL! I think Seabass might be suitable. I would suggest that you place the chilli sambal in a separate saucer and use it as a dip instead. If you like the dip after the first taste, then paste it all over the fish. If you don’t, at least you still have plain fried seabass which you can deal with it another way ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. 8
    rasa malaysia
    June 13th, 2007 at 10:54 am

    I love pomfret, but I haven’t acquired the liking for black pomfret…somehow the flesh is a little corse to me, but then what do I know, I am a food snob. LOL.

    It looks like there is a golden pomfret too, I saw it that the market here.

  9. 9
    June 13th, 2007 at 11:40 am

    It looks very appetizing to me leh! 3 bowls of rice already in front of me, waiting to attack the fish.
    Too bad I don’t deep fry fish, so once again, I need to eat at your place ๐Ÿ˜€

  10. 10
    June 13th, 2007 at 11:54 am

    Very tempting indeed! What is it called in Cantonese may I ask?

  11. 11
    June 13th, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    Rasa Malaysia : The black pomfret has got a slightly stronger fishy taste compared to the silver. Perhaps that’s why it is not up to everyone’s taste. The golden pomfret is also available here and it is suitable for steaming. However, the flesh is not as smooth as the silver. ๐Ÿ˜›

    tigerfish : Wah! Your kitchen don’t do frying wan ar? Come up to KL and I will treat you to this dish. LOL!

    tankiasu : Er….hak chong? (“Hak” as in black)

  12. 12
    October 31st, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    What pathetic picture11?? Yummy, the fish turned out great ! Thanks 4 the recipe !!

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