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Indonesian Blackened Grilled Fish

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Blackened grilled fish is always good. This takes it to a delicious new level!

This is a blackened grilled fish recipe I learned in Bali a few years back. Actually, come to think of it, it was a few decades back but I have been making it ever since!

The flavour of that sambal, grilled until black on the crispy skin just plain gets it!

Indonesian blackened grilled fish

So good! You’ve got to try this one with your white fish of choice.


Making the sambals…

I suggest making two Indonesian style sambals for this blacked grilled fish recipe.

One you use to marinate and grill the fish. The other is a fresh, raw sambal that tastes amazing served with the fish.

The raw sambal is called sambal matah and the recipe follows…

Matah Sambal Recipe

This is a quick and easy sambal to make and it’s so good with this blackened grilled fish.


8 green bird’s eye chilies, chopped finely
2 red jalepenos
8 shallots, sliced thinly
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 lime leaves, stem removed and sliced thinly
1 tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
2 lemongrass, peeled white part only
½ tsp shrimp paste (optional)
3 tbsp coconut oil
70ml (1/4 cup) sweet soy sauce (katsup manis)
Sugar to taste


Place chillies, shallots, garlic, lime leaves, lime juice, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the coconut oil to a pan over medium high heat and fry the lemongrass to soften some. Then add the shrimp paste and fry for another 30 seconds. Pour this over the chopped veggies. Taste it and add more salt and/or sugar to taste.

Step by step photos…

Ingredients for Indonesian blackened grilled fish

Get all your ingredients together before starting. It’s easier that way.

Sambal frying with butter

Blend all the marinade sambal ingredients together to a paste. Fry for a couple of minutes in oil and then stir in the butter until it melts into the sambal.

Marinade sauce

Whisk the cooked sambal with the sweet soy sauce until smooth.

Marinated fish on the barbecue

Slit the fish on both sides and rub the marinade all over, into the slits and inside the cavity. Place it over the fire.

blackened grilled fish

Once nicely charred and cooked through, it’s ready to serve. This takes about 10 minutes total.

Grilled fish

Serve with the sambal matah.

Indonesian blackened grilled fish

Just look at that! Now it’s your turn to make it. Enjoy!

If you like this blackened fish recipe, you might also like to try some of these.

Indonesian Chicken Sate
Indonesian Fried Chicken
Sambal Oelek – Indonesian hot sauce
Chicken with Sambal Matah
Babi Kecap
Spicy Green Beans Indonesian Style
Indonesian Bakso
Ikan Bakar – Indonesian Fried Fish
Nasi Goreng
Mee Goreng
Sambal La La – Spicy Clams
Indonesian Blackened Fish
Seafood Laksa
Chicken Rendang
Beef Rendang
Butter Egg Floss Prawns
Malaysian Chicken Curry
Malaysian Devil Curry
Ayam Masak Merah – Malaysian Red Chicken Curry
Chicken Kapitan
Homemade Kecap Manis

Have you tried this blackened fish recipe?

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Yield: 3 - 4

Indonesian Blackened Grilled Fish

Indonesian blackened grilled fish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1 Large wild sea bass, slit or other meaty white fish like snapper
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 x 5cm (2 inches) ginger
  • 3 red chillies
  • 5 shallots
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 80ml (1/4 cup) sweet soy sauce (katsup manis)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter


  1. Using a spice grinder, food processor or pestle and mortar, grind the garlic, ginger, chillies and shallots to a paste. This is a sambal. Heat at pan over medium high heat and add the oil. When the oil is visibly hot, stir in the sambal and fry it for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the ground spices and stir it all up to combine. Then add the butter and fry, stirring regularly until the butter melts into the sambal.
  3. Transfer the sambal to a mixing bowl and add the katsup manis. Stir it all in until smooth and quite dark in colour. You can do this a few days in advance if more convenient.
  4. When ready to cook, build a direct heat fire in your barbecue. Take your fish and place it in a container large enough for it to lie flat in. Rub the marinade all over the fish, inside the slits and in the cavity.
  5. Any leftover marinade can be used for basting while you cook.
  6. Place the fish in a fish grilling basket and place it over the coals. Watch the underside closely as you want to both cook it through and also give it a good char.
  7. When it looks like the fish is almost cooked through on the underside, flip it over to cook the other side. Baste the fish from time to time with the remaining marinade.
    Cook until the fish is cooked through and nicely charred.
  8. Serve immediately with Sambal matah.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 268Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 302mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 29g

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