Pepes Ikan Kembung (Indonesian Mackerel en Papillote)

Pepes Ikan Kembung
Cooking in parchment paper, en papillote in French or al Cartoccio in Italian. It’s a perfect technique for delicate fish filets. This method in which we seal the food in a pouch and bake. The food essentially steams in the oven in its own juices. The method is also incredibly easy and has the added benefits of being a low fat method of cooking.

The technique’s keys are
1) use fresh ingredients;
2) preparation or mise en place. Using aromatic vegetables, herbs, and if you like, a little vermouth, wine, or olive oil can add depth.


Pepes Ikan Kembung 2
In this case, I used Indian mackerel or it`s known as ikan kembung in Indonesian. Instead of banana leaves which are very popular in Indonesian cuisine, I used parchment paper. Sambal Matah Bali ingredients have been inspired my modified pepes such as shallots, lemongrass (I used frozen ground lemongrass), bird’s eye chillies, kaffir lime leaves. The pepes was also enriched by candlenuts, tomato and kencur (kaempeferia galangal).

No need recipe. I just threw all ingredients to the food processor, except fish and the wrappers. First of all, rinse off the fish and marinate with tamarind for 15 minutes. Rub fish with ground spices. Place in parchment paper and wrap it up, then wrap the fish in parchment paper with aluminium foil. Steam, pouch or bake until done.

PS. Sambal Matah recipe can be seen at


About the Author

An Indonesian born who lives in Winnipeg, Canada for more than a decade and decided to move a bit west. Edmonton is now where she is based on. Indonesia Eats is a memoir of her homeland.