Bumbu Bali with Fish
This fresh, healthy fish dish is typically Dutch – Indonesian. It is cooked in a bumbu bali. The spicy tomato sauce gives lots of energy and the fish is tender and full of flavor. This recipe is Beb Vuyk’s variation on Ikan Bumbu Bali.
But I want to make this bumbu bali with fish a bit different. I do not follow Beb’s recipe exactly, as I usually do. She says: “Cut the fish fillets into 4 pieces and fry them in an ordinary way in the oil. Take them out when they are brown and crispy.”
I do not fry them until crispy. I do not fry them at all. The filets are so beautiful and I really want them to suck up the fantastic curry paste, rather than risking to overcook the fish and finish with fish meat that is too dry.
I wonder how much difference in taste it is. I can say that ‘my way’ ensures a super tender, delicious tomato sauce fish dish which my guests finished completely. 😉
Bumbu Bali #221 Fish translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page 203.
1 kg of haddock or cod fillets
6 tablespoons oil
3 cups of water
Herbs and spices
5 tablespoons of chopped onions
2 chopped cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of sambal terasi (chili sauce with shrimp paste)
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon galangal
1 small can of tomato paste
2 stalks of lemongrass
1 salam leaf (Asian bay leaf)
1 djeroek poeroet leaf (Kaffir lime leaf)
Cut the fish fillets into 4 pieces and fry them in the ordinary way in the oil. Take them out when they are brown and crispy. Add to the remaining oil the rubbed onions, garlic, chili, ginger and galangal together with the salam leafs and djeroet poeroet. Let it simmer for a moment and then add the tomato paste and 2 to 3 tablespoons of water. Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer the fillets for 1 to 2 minutes.
I’ve done my best to rub the ingredients and spices extra fine so all the flavors come out and the fish can easily suck up all the flavors. I’m mad about kaffir lime leaf (djeroek poeroet or jeruk purut). That tasty leaf is special. It tastes like an extra fragrant lime. Perfect for this dish.
I love this recipe but one thing is a bit weird: where’s the salt? Perhaps Beb Vuyk forgot it, or she likes it without. I like it with salt and I think this dish needs it too. The amount of salt depends on the type of tomato paste that you add. Some tomato pastes have added salt.
The amount of salt depends on the type of tomato paste that you add. Some tomato pastes have added salt.
The picture is proof: I just placed my raw fish right into the sauce. The fish is done just before it flakes. Use a small knife to peek at the interior of the fish. Many cookbooks tell you to cook fish until it flakes; this is too long though, because “be sure to stop cooking when the fish is just shy of done; otherwise, it will overcook by the time you serve it“. Read more about this on Finecooking.com.
We eat this dish with pandan rice and a simple vegetable dish of green beans. I will add to my recipe list soon.