237 Bebotok Ikan – spiced cod in packets

Bebotok Ikan (vispakketjes met kabeljauw)Doesn’t it look beautiful? These packets stuffed with cod fillets in Indonesian herbs are fun to make. I use aluminum foil just like Beb suggests in her recipe. Of course you can use banana leafs, but they are not so easy to get here in Holland and I like to make Beb Vuyk’s recipes (almost always) just as she suggests.

This recipe is enough for 4 people and takes about 1,5 hours to make (because the cods needs to be marinated)

Bebotok Ikan – spiced cod in packets translated from Beb Vuyk Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, pagina 213.


1/2 kg of cod fillets
1/10 block santen (coconut cream)
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon of oil


3 tablespoons of chopped onions
1 teaspoon of sambal oelek
2 teaspoons of coriander (ketumbar)
1 teaspoon of cumin (djinten)
1 teaspoon of galangal (laos)
1 tablespoon asem water, made with a bit of tamarind the size of 1/2 a walnut

Cut 4 pieces of aluminum foil of about 12 × 15 cm. Cut the fish into four pieces, sprinkle it with a little salt. Rub onions, chilli, coriander, cumin and galangal together to form a herb paste. Fry them briefly in the oil, add the asem water and the block of santen. Stir well. If necessary add a little water. Dip the fish fillets one by one in this mixture and let marinate. Then place them on the aluminum foil which is coated with a little oil on the inside. Pour the rest of the thick herb paste over it, add the santen and fold the foil into a packet. Bake in the oven or on a charcoal fire in +/- 20 to 30 minutes until done.

Bebotok Ikan (vispakketjes met kabeljauw) ingredienten
The idea is that the fish steam in the packets while laying in a super tasty spice paste. I love cumin and fish. Luckily djinten goes into this recipe. It is strong in flavor and gives the fish exactly what it needs. I use about one teaspoon of salt.

Bebotok Ikan (vispakketjes met kabeljauw) in cobek
I rub the onion, chili, coriander, cumin and galangal together. The mixture turns pretty dark.

Bebotok Ikan (vispakketjes met kabeljauw) bakken in boemboe

Now I fry the mix in the wok. I use 2 tablespoons of oil. Now you can add the asem water. Asem is tamarind and gives an acidic flavor. I buy asem in a jar at the Toko. It’s been made into a paste and sieved (fresh tamarind is full of fibers and seeds). I add some extra water as well. This way my santen dissolves nicely.

Bebotok Ikan (vispakketjes met kabeljauw) in wadjang

The paste has a nice thickness that will stick to the fish. Now, the packets can be made. Don’t forget the salt. I cut my fish more or less equal pieces.

Bebotok Ikan (vispakketjes met kabeljauw) zout Beb says ‘dip the fillets one by one’. But I do it a bit different. I sandwich my cods in the herb paste. Some under and some on top.

Bebotok Ikan (vispakketjes met kabeljauw) in boemboe

I sprinkle some santen on top and then fold the foil in to packets. Santen has such a deliciously creamy, smooth flavor. It is important in bebotok.

Bebotok Ikan (vispakketjes met kabeljauw) en santen
Now I leave the bebotok ikan to marinate for about half an hour. Beb says not how hot your oven needs to be. I heat mine up until 180 degrees celsius (356 Fahrenheit) and cook the fish for 20 minutes. My fillets are quite thick. So it needs 20 minutes. Check if your fish is done. Do not overcook. The fish will be rubbery or dry in taste.

Bebotok Ikan (vispakketjes met kabeljauw)Bebotok is so much fun to make. Earlier I made Beb’s bebotok with veal. I serve my bebotok ikan in the packets. I cut a cross in the top and fold them open like a flower. This way the juices stay in.  So good! And so healthy!


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