Pepesan Ikan is Indonesian style spicy mackerel cooked in a delicious spicy flavor mixture (called bumbu). The flavors of the bumbu penetrate into the fish, giving it a lot of flavors and making it nice and tender.
And this recipe is super easy to prepare yourself. Delicious for the next Asian Buffet!
Pepesan Ikan is therefore not necessarily mackerel (but can also be cod or dorade). But if you ask in the Netherlands, everyone will understand that Indian mackerel is meant by that.
Cover the mackerel with a delicious, spicy bumbu, and then steam it until done.
Officially you fold it in banana leaf, but you can also wrap the Pepesan Ikan in aluminum foil.
I like to keep it very simple and have prepared it in an oven dish that I covered with aluminum foil. And I also omitted the mortar. I ground my bumbu in the food processor. I still kept some structure (because a smooth bumbu is less tasty in my experience). But you can see that in the picture.
What goes in Ikan Pepesan
Here's what you need to make this spicy Indonesian-style Mackerel.
Which mackerel do you use for Pepesan Ikan?
Boneless, smoked mackerel is the easiest to use in this recipe. It is ready in a short time and has no bone. But smoked mackerel or fresh mackerel are both good choices. With fresh mackerel, make sure you remove the skin before steaming it (that's really not tasty). And extend the baking time by 10 minutes.
The most delicious Indonesian seasonings for Indian Spicy Mackerel?
Spices are very important in Indonesian cuisine. For the bumbu (the spice paste) we use a delicious mixture to get the best flavors. A few herbs specific to this recipe highlighted:
Chili Paste - In Indonesian kitchen sambal Oelek or Sambal Badjak is used for the spice in this recipe. You can also use buffalo sauce, adobo sauce, chipotle pepper, or sriracha to make it spicy. Or use ¼ teaspoon chili powder and ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper. Add more chili paste if you like it spicy.
Shrimp paste - A shrimp paste commonly used in Indonesian cuisine is Trassi. You can replace it with 2 teaspoons of miso or 2 teaspoons of fish sauce (but the taste will be a little different).
Candelnuts - Is often used in Indonesian cuisine and you buy them in the Asian supermarket. These are nuts, which you cannot eat raw. Before use, grind them fine (or crush them). It makes sauces thicker. A candlenut is greasy, tastes nutty bitter. If you can't gain them, you can replace them with macadamias (it thickens the sauce, but the taste is slightly different).
Palm sugar - Palm sugar is extracted from the palm tree. The sap of this tree is boiled down until you are left with that characteristic brown color. Then when you pour it into a mold, it hardens. It has a caramel-like slightly salty taste. You can replace it with dark brown caster sugar (although the real palm sugar has a much more intense taste).
Creamed coconut - This is called Santen in Indonesia. It's made from the grated pulp of the coconut, which is mixed with water. Creamed coconut consists of 70 % fat (in comparison coconut milk contains 17 %). By mixing it with hot water you get liquid coconut. It is concentrated and therefore ideal for use in the kitchen. This way you can decide for yourself how much you dilute the creamed coconut (and how much coconut flavor you want to keep).
How To Make Indonesian Spiced Mackerel
A recipe that you can easily print can be found at the bottom of the blog.
This is a very simple recipe, really. Start by making the spice mixture (called the bumbu), by grinding everything fine and frying it lightly. Simmer that sauce for a while to get even more intense flavors. Put the bumbu together with the mackerel in an oven dish and 30 minutes later this delicious dish is on the table!
- Banana leaf, aluminum foil or oven dish? - Traditionally the fish is steamed in wrapped in a banana leaf. Here it is more difficult to obtain (or you have to be lucky enough to live near a large Asian Supermarket). That is why the mackerel is often individually wrapped in aluminum foil. With this recipe, the bumbu is a bit moist, so you can put it in an oven dish with a lid (or cover it with aluminum foil). The fish will then cook in its own steam (and you will use less aluminum foil).
- Slightly spicy or extra hot? - This recipe is made as a family recipe. So it falls into the slightly spicy category. But if you like to eat it hot, increase the chili paste to 2 to 4 tablespoons.
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Pepesan Ikan - Indonesian Spicy Mackerel
- 1 oven dish
- 2 cloves garlic halved
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 1 oz. creamed coconut
- 2 tomatoes in small cubes
- 2 teaspoons palm sugar
Ingredients you need per step are listed below the step in Italic
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F / 180°C.
- Add the shallots, garlic, shrimp paste, salt, turmeric, lemon juice, chili paste, candlenuts, djeroek purut leaves and sweet soy sauce.4 shallots, 2 cloves garlic, ¼ teaspoon Shrimp paste, ¼ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground turmeric, ½ tablespoon lemon juice, 2 teaspoons chili paste, 3 candlenuts, 2 djeroek purut leaves, 2 tablespoons Kecap Manis
- Pulse into a coarse paste: the bumbu.
- Heat two tablespoons of oil in the frying pan and fry the bumbu for two minutes on medium heat.2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- Dissolve the creamed coconut in the hot water and pour it into the pan.1 oz. creamed coconut, ¼ cup hot water
- Add the diced tomatoes and palm sugar. Place the lemongrass on top and bring everything to a boil.2 tomatoes, 2 teaspoons palm sugar, 2 stalks lemongrass
- Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Spread half of the sauce over the bottom of the baking dish.
- Place the mackerel fillets on top. Make sure they are in one layer as much as possible.1 pound smoked mackerel fillets
- Spoon the rest of the sauce over the mackerel and cover all the mackerel with it.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil (this way the fish will steam until done) and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
- Eat right away or let cool to room temperature. Delicious with white rice, cucumber and green beans.
- Refrigerator - You can keep the Pepesan Ikan covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- Frozen - Allow the Indian spicy mackerel to cool quickly and wrap in aluminum foil and pack in an airtight freezer box or bag and freeze. This keeps it good for up to 2 months. Let thaw in the refrigerator.
- Reheating - Heat the fish in the aluminum foil and warm in a skillet.
I absolutely love mackerel, but never had it in this version! The combination of all of these spices and ingredients must be utterly delicious with the fish!
Yum! The flavours are amazing. I can't wait to give this mackerel a try.
This mackerel turned out so tender and is packed full of flavour. Me and my partner absolutely loved it, thank you!