Vinegar Fish

Fish cooked in a spicy mixture that includes chillies, ginger and vinegar is an Indonesian speciality. It is a method that lends itself particularly well to strong-flavoured, oily fish, such as the mackerel used here.


serves 2 - 3
2 - 3 mackerel, filleted
2 - 3 red chillies, seeded
4 macadamia nuts or 8 almonds
1 red onion, quartered
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cm (1/2 in) piece root ginger, peeled and sliced
5 ml (1 tsp) ground turmeric
45 ml (3 tbsp) coconut or vegetable oil
45 ml (3 tbsp) wine vinegar
150 ml (1/4 pint) 2/3 cup water
salt deep-fried onions and finely chopped chilli, to garnish
boiled or coconut rice, to serve (optional)


1. Rinse the mackerel fillets in cold water and dry well on kitchen paper. Set aside.

2. Put the chillies, macadamia nuts or almonds, onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric and 15 ml (1 tbsp) of the oil in a food processor and process to form a paste. Alternatively, pound them together in a mortar with a pestle to form a paste. Heat the remaining oil in a wok. When it is hot, add the paste and cook for 1 - 2 minutes without browning. Stir in the vinegar and water and season with salt to taste. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat.

3. Add the mackerel fillets to the sauce and simmer for 6 - 8 minutes or until the fish is tender and cooked.

4. Transfer the fish to a warm serving dish. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook for 1 minute or until it has reduced slightly. Pour the sauce over the fish, garnish with the deep-fried onions- and chopped chilli and serve with rice, if liked.

To make coconut rice, put 400 g (14 oz) washed long grain rice in a heavy saucepan with 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) salt, a 5 cm (2 in) piece of lemon grass and 25 g (1 oz) creamed coconut. Add 750 ml (/l/ pints/3 cups boiling water and stir once to prevent the grains sticking together. Simmer over a medium heat for 10 - 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and set aside tor 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork or chopsticks before serving.

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