Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Black Pomfret in Black Sauce ala Malay Style

I am blessed with generous in-laws who regularly supply us with seafood and meats bought fresh from the Ipoh markets so that i don't have to brave the wet market here (hallelujah!) or buy overpriced (yet sometimes lower quality) cuts from the hypermarkets. 

Every other month or so, we would receive a "delivery" in the form of a huge styrofoam box packed to the brim with frozen kampung chicken, a variety of fish, prawns, pork ribs and pork belly.  More often than not, there would also be another bag stuffed with dry goods such as rock sugar, lo hon ko, red dates, some fruits (my FIL grow the juiciest jambu batu) and even bottles of honey.  Hubs and I have this running joke that the way my MIL pack for us is as if a famine is looming round the corner.

From left clockwise: The "delivery" packed with goodies;
The no-frills styrofoam box;
More goodies in the latest delivery

I found this black beauty in the latest "delivery" and straightaway thought of this recipe.  The black pomfret meat is more compact and has a slightly fishier smell than the delicate white pomfret, hence it is usually deepfried or paired with a stronger flavoured sauce. 

This is my healthier (ie no deep fry) version of the popular Malay dish - bawal hitam bersos.   It is a really yummy dish, very easy to prepare and is a nice change if you are hankering after some authentic street-style Malay dishes.  My hubby and son enjoyed this.

Black Pomfret in Black Sauce ala Malay Style

  • 1 large black pomfret
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced
  • 2 fat pips of garlic, chopped
  • 10 slices of ginger
  • 1 tbspn dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbspn light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • Generous dash of white pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbspn sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Juice of 1 lime (remove the seeds)

1.  Rinse the fish, pat dry thoroughly and cut three slits diagonally across both sides.

2.  Heat 1 tbspn of oil and fry the onion, garlic and ginger until fragrant.

3.  Add the water and all the seasonings and bring to a boil.

4.  Gently add the fish and cook on medium heat for 8-10 minutes.  Turn the fish to the other side and cook for another 5 minutes.

5.  Turn off the fire and pour the lime juice over the gravy.  Pour the fish and the gravy into a serving plate and serve immediately with steam rice.


  1. Esther, this looks yummy and fairly easy to cook. Will give it a try!

    1. Hey Tze Jiun, nice to her from you, thanks for dropping by! Hope ur family will like this.

  2. I always deep fry this fish before I cook it with sauce because I found this black Pomfret very fishy. But look at this , next time I must try this Malay way. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Sonia, just pile on the ginger and onion, no fishy smell d :)

  3. thx a lot i just moved to south east asia and i just needed a simple (and not deep fried!) recipe to cook this delicious fish. can t wait to try it!


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