Showing posts with label barbecue. Show all posts
Showing posts with label barbecue. Show all posts

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Bali Spicy Grilled Fish - Ikan Bakar Jimbaran

Bali Spicy Grilled Fish aka Ikan Bakar Jimbaran means whole grouper marinated in a spice paste that includes onion, garlic, galangal, coriander, tamarind and red chilies, which is then grilled over coals and basted with sweet soy sauce.

Best enjoyed in a fresh island breeze that carries the smoky grilled smell to your table, followed quickly on by the charred sweet and spicy fish itself, this dish brings me right back to Bali, Island of the Gods. 

If you’ve read my About Me page, you know that Indonesia is one of the places in which I’ve had a bedroom, first in my father’s home in Jakarta and later, as a married person, in the small oilfield town of Balikpapan on the island of Borneo. When I’d tell people we lived in Balikpapan, they’d say knowingly and with some how’d-you-get-that-gig admiration, “Oh, Bali!” No, sadly, not Bali, not even close in attributes and amenities, but, fortunately, it wasn’t that far to get to when we needed a break.

And when we did spend time in Bali, we ordered the ikan bakar, or grilled fish. Over the years, I’ve tried to recreate it more than a few times at home. This version is the closest I’ve ever come to our memories of the original. I have to warn you that cooking it is a two-man job and requires a charcoal barbecue pit with a lid to control the flames which lick up at the fish, essential for flavor, but a challenge to manage. The second person is needed for basting quickly while person number one holds the lid off briefly, poised to close it quickly as the flames shoot up. 

We want lots of charred bits on the outside, but succulent white flesh inside. I also find that using a fish shaped metal barbecue basket greatly simplifies the task. Ikan bakar is traditionally served with a raw sambal of lemongrass, purple onions and chilies, with shrimp paste or ground dried shrimp, called sambal matah or green mango sambal.

My ikan bakar Jimbaran was adapted from these two recipes on Recipkoki and Bumbu Ikan Bakarku. Who knew I could remember that much of my Bahasa Indonesia, the Indonesian language?!

1 whole fish about 3 1/3 lbs or 1.5kg (Red Snapper or Grouper or other white fish) Mine is a Grouper.

For the marinade:
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
5 candlenuts (Sub macadamias if you can’t find candlenuts.)
8 small shallots or equivalent weight in purple onions, peeled
5 cloves garlic, peeled
3 red chilies, stems cut off
3 teaspoons sour tamarind paste or equal amount of fresh tamarind, seeds and fibers removed
2 in or 5cm piece galangal, peeled and chopped finely
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons canola or other light oil
Juice half a lime (if your tamarind isn’t very sour)
1/3 cup or 90ml water

For the basting liquid:
1/2 cup or 120ml kecap manis or sweet dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons canola
Warm till butter melts, whisk to combine.

Use a mortar and pestle to grind the coriander seeds to a fine powder then add the other marinade ingredients up to and including the sea salt, a few at a time. Grind everything to a smooth paste.

Sauté the paste in the oil for about 10 minutes over a low heat, until fragrant. Add in the water and cook for about 10 more minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove from the heat and allow the spice paste to cool before proceeding.

Clean your fish (or have your fish market guy do it for you) but leave it whole. Slash the fish down to the bones with a very sharp knife.

Heap the marinade on both sides and use your fingers or a spoon to make sure that it gets deep into the slashes. Rub marinade inside the fish as well. Leave to marinate for an hour or so. If you are preparing it ahead of cooking by several hours, put it in the refrigerator.

About 20-30 minutes before you are ready to cook the fish, light your charcoals.

Make your basting liquid by adding all the ingredients to a microwaveable measuring cup and warming it in the microwave until the butter is just melted. Whisk to combine.

When the coals are white, your fire is ready. Spray your barbecue basket with non-stick spray and put the fish inside securely.

Whole fish come in different thicknesses so it’s hard to tell you exactly how long to cook your fish. This one took about 20 minutes all together. We did about eight minutes on one side.

Then eight minutes on the other to start.

Once it’s just about cooked, start basting with the sweet soy mixture, turning the fish frequently.

Keep the lid down to control the flames so the fish smokes but the sugar in the soy doesn’t burn too much. Some char is desirable though. And some of the black is actually the dark soy. Check for doneness by separating the flesh up near the head with two forks. Fully cooked fish will be white to the bone.

Bring the whole fish to the table and let folks serve themselves by removing the meat from the bones.


Many thanks to our two hosts for this week’s Sunday Supper, Cindy of Cindy’s Recipes and Writings and Marlene of Nosh My Way for motivating this walk down culinary memory lane in search of a tropical recipe to share. If you are looking for more tropical inspired recipes, you have come to the right place this week!

Tidbits and Pupus
Condiments and Sauces
Main Event
Delectable Delights


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Louisiana Roasted Barbecue Shrimp

In New Orleans, this dish is simply known as barbecued shrimp despite its method of cooking, which doesn’t get anywhere near hot coals or even an electric grill. I’ve added “Roasted” so you know that the oven is where the action takes place. 

I came to barbecued shrimp late in life. It wasn’t something either of my Cajun grandmothers made, at least, I don’t recall ever eating it at their houses. Fresh gulf shrimp in their hands became an étouffée or were boiled whole in spicy seasoned water along with baby new potatoes and corn on the cob. Even my mother, born and raised in New Iberia, Louisiana, is more likely to bread and deep-fry shrimp or, if company is coming, cook them in a cheesy rich Newburg sauce. Now we are going back a few years but it was my cousin, Misty, who first introduced us, me and the barbecued shrimp. It was love at first bite.

We were visiting Misty one summer at her lovely home in New Orleans and she baked the shrimp with a full cup of butter and a package of wonderful seasonings from the folks at Bolner’s Spices. You know I had to go buy a packet or two right after that. But, living as we do overseas, remembering to buy enough spice packets to keep us going from year to year often just didn't happen. It was time to figure out how to do it on my own, from ingredients I could get. This week’s Sunday Supper theme of Fat Sunday - sharing decadent or Mardi Gras inspired recipes – was just the motivation I needed. I am calling this homemade version of roasted barbecue shrimp a great success based on my husband’s comment after the meal, “We could have this again, and often.” Why, yes. Yes, we could!

Ingredients (to feed two greedy people on shrimp and bread or four normal people, if you include side dishes like potatoes and salad)
1 lb 10 oz or 750g fresh shrimp or prawns (without heads, shells still on)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
4 cloves garlic
Olive oil
1 lemon
1 small purple onion
1/2 cup or 115g unsalted butter
1/4 cup or 60ml Worcestershire sauce
To serve: Chopped green onions for garnish and French bread for sopping up the sauce. Sides of boiled baby new potatoes and salad – optional

Use a mortar and pestle to grind together into a thick paste the paprika, black pepper, salt, red pepper flakes, the leaves off of your sprigs of rosemary and thyme and the cloves of garlic.

Add in a couple of glugs (perhaps two tablespoons) of olive oil and stir until loosened.

Spoon the spice paste into a medium-sized bowl with your shrimp. Using a microplane or a fine grater, zest the yellow peel off of your lemon.

Give everything a thorough stir to make sure that the spices and zest are well mixed with the shrimp. Set aside.

Finely mince your purple onion. Put the minced onion and the butter into a large ovenproof pan on the stovetop. Gently melt the butter and sauté the onions over a medium heat.

When the onions are translucent, turn the fire off and remove the pan from the stove. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and allow the mixture to cool.

When the pan is cool enough not to cook your seasoned shrimp on contact, pour them in and mix thoroughly. Set aside to marinate further.

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.  When the oven is hot, give the shrimp another good stir and pop them into the oven, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until they have turned pink and are cooked through. Squeeze on some of the lemon juice from your zested lemon.

Sprinkle with a little chopped green onion, if desired. Serve barbecued shrimp with sliced French bread to dip in the pan juices because, honestly, that’s the best part! This is a meal you will eat with your hands. It's gonna get messy but it's gonna be good!


Whether you celebrate Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, the final day of indulgence before the start of Lent, or just love decadent dishes, desserts and cocktails, you are going to love our round up today, hosted by the talented Leslie of La Cocina de Leslie. I know I want to try everything on the list!

Cocktails & Other Beverages:
Main Dishes:
Side Dishes:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Piri Piri Grilled Whole Baby Grouper

This piri-piri whole baby grouper is marinated first in homemade piri-piri sauce and then grilled to succulent perfection over hot coals.

Food Lust People Love: This piri-piri whole baby grouper is marinated first in homemade piri-piri sauce and then grilled to succulent perfection over hot coals.

As I mentioned in my last post, Piri Piri Grilled Chicken,  the sauce is great on fish or pork or prawns or pretty much whatever you want to grill.*  The original grill guy was also grilling fresh sardines but any fish will do!  I won’t repeat the making of the sauce again but here’s how to prepare the fish.

2/3 cup or 160ml piri piri sauce – made from this recipe – 1/3 cup or 80 ml for marinating, 1/3 cup or 80ml for basting while grilling.
2 small Grouper about 1 lb each or one larger fish of 2 1/4 lbs.
Sprinkle of flakey sea salt for serving
Fish holder/grill basket

Get your fish guy to gut, clean and scale the fish but leave it whole.  Once you get it home, make sure it is really clear of scales by giving it a quick scrape all over with a sharp knife - from tail to head.  Rinse it well.  Refrigerate.

About half an hour to an hour before you are going to grill, cut three or four nice scores in each side of the fish.

Pop them in a bag and pour over 1/3 cup or 80ml of piri piri sauce.  Massage the bag a little to make sure the sauce is all over both sides of the fish.  Put the bag on a plate and put it back in the refrigerator.

When you are ready to grill, light your charcoal fire and transfer your fish to the fish holder.  This handy item will make turning the fish a breeze.  We actually own four of these.  Two larger fish-shaped ones and two like the one you see pictured here, which work great for small fish or even burgers.

Our fish were about 1 in or 2.5cm thick so they didn’t need to cook long - about 5-6 minutes each side.  If you have one 2 1/4 lb fish, it will need to cook it a little longer, depending on the thickness.  Grill, turning occasionally and basting whenever you turn, until it is done.  We used another 1/3 cup or 80ml for basting.

You can check for doneness by sticking a knife in at the thickest part and making sure that the fish is white all the way to the bone.  Any grey left and you need to cook it a bit more.  Gently ease the fish out of the fish holder, using a sharp knife. 

Food Lust People Love: This piri-piri whole baby grouper is marinated first in homemade piri-piri sauce and then grilled to succulent perfection over hot coals.

Give it a light sprinkling of flakey sea salt.  Serve with some extra lemon or lime for squeezing onto the fish. 

Food Lust People Love: This piri-piri whole baby grouper is marinated first in homemade piri-piri sauce and then grilled to succulent perfection over hot coals.
The full meal:  grilled grouper, baby zucchini sauteed with garlic
and arugula/rocket salad with roma tomatoes and blue cheese.

For those of you who are printing out the instructions, make sure to print this link as well - for the sauce. 

*And for those of you keeping track, there was about a 1/2 cup or 120ml of piri piri sauce left after the fish.  It is currently marinating a small pork roast that will be put on the oven rotisserie tonight.  Can't wait!