Ingredients

  • Serves 3-4 people
  • 1 large Tilapia fish, gutted and cleaned

    120g uncooked rice

    1 pc cinnamon stick

    3 cloves

    1 ½ tbsp turmeric powder

    1 ½ tsp salt

    6cm fresh turmeric, skin removed

    10 pc bird’s eye chilies

    500ml freshly squeezed coconut milk

    3 stalks lemongrass

    3 Kaffir lime leaves

    1 slice of dried tamarind

    4 calamansi limes

    10ml vegetable oil to brush onto the fish

    Strips of coconut husk for smoking

    Bits of old coconut shell for smoking

     

  • garnish:

    1 red chili

    10g coriander leaves

    1 spring onion

    2 Kaffir lime leaves

Ikan Salai Masak Lemak (Smoked Tilapia in Coconut Gravy)
Recipe Courtesy of
Sherson Lian

Ikan Salai Masak Lemak (Smoked Tilapia in Coconut Gravy)

{{totalReview}}
Ikan Salai Masak Lemak, or Smoked Tilapia in Coconut Gravy, is one of the dishes that remind me of the days spent with my family in Melaka. Smoking the tilapia with coconut husk helps to remove the muddy flavors commonly found in freshwater fish, but if you can’t obtain coconut husk or shell for smoking, raw rice is a suitable alternative which adds a nice aroma to your smoke. The key to a great Masak Lemak gravy is to use fresh turmeric as it gives the dish the vibrant yellow hue that it is famously known for. This delicious Malaysian kampung dish is certainly one that you must try!
  • Medium
  • 15 min
  • 50 min
  • 15 min
  • 3 steps
  • 20 Ingredients
  • Medium
  • 3 steps
  • 20 Ingredients
  • 15 min
  • 50 min
  • 15 min

Instructions

  1. Prepare the smoker

    • In a heated pot or wok, add the coconut husk, raw rice, cinnamon stick and cloves.
    • Using a blowtorch, set the coconut husk on fire and place a steam rack over the flames. This helps the smoking materials to burn more evenly.
    • Slice the fish into half and rub some turmeric powder and salt on the surface to marinate it.
    • Place the fish on the steam rack and cover the pot or wok with a lid. Smoking the Tilapia helps to get rid of the muddy flavor of the freshwater fish.
    • Brush the fish with vegetable oil to achieve a nice shine.
    • Smoke the fish for about 15min and set it aside on a cooling rack or plate.


  2. Prepare the coconut gravy

    • Roughly chop the fresh turmeric.
    • Blend the fresh turmeric, bird’s eye chilies with 125g fresh coconut milk until well combined
    • Heat a pot on the stove.
    • Pour the blended coconut milk into the heated pot and add the remaining 375ml coconut milk.
    • Use the back of a knife handle and smash the lemongrass stalks. Doing this keeps the lemongrass intact while allowing its flavors to be released during cooking.
    • Crush the Kaffir lime leaves by hand to release their essential oils and put them into the pot.
    • Add the dried tamarind slice and salt into the pot.


  3. Complete the dish

    • Add the smoked fish into the coconut gravy.
    • To make the garnish, prepare a bowl of ice water. Thinly slice the red chilies, kaffir lime leaves, and spring onion. Place them in the ice water and they will curl up nicely. Pluck some coriander leaves and place them in ice water as well.
    • Turn off the heat. Slice the calamansi limes in half and squeeze the juice into the coconut gravy, using your fingers as a sieve to catch the seeds.
    • Place the fish into your serving dish and scoop out the coconut gravy.


Plate and Serve!

Place the garnish on top of the fish. It is now ready to serve!

Plate and Serve!
Discover food-spirational recipes with our new explore feed!
Check it out

Reviews

Overall Rating

    Show more reviews
    icon
    Ingredients
    icon
    Share
    Ingredients
    • Serves 3-4 people
    • 1 large Tilapia fish, gutted and cleaned

      120g uncooked rice

      1 pc cinnamon stick

      3 cloves

      1 ½ tbsp turmeric powder

      1 ½ tsp salt

      6cm fresh turmeric, skin removed

      10 pc bird’s eye chilies

      500ml freshly squeezed coconut milk

      3 stalks lemongrass

      3 Kaffir lime leaves

      1 slice of dried tamarind

      4 calamansi limes

      10ml vegetable oil to brush onto the fish

      Strips of coconut husk for smoking

      Bits of old coconut shell for smoking

       

    • garnish:

      1 red chili

      10g coriander leaves

      1 spring onion

      2 Kaffir lime leaves

    Nutrition
    Close

    We use cookies to enhance your experience, for analytics and to show you offers tailored to your interests on our site and third party sites. For more information, please refer to our Cookie Policy.

    By clicking "Accept", you agree to our use of cookies and similar technologies.