Born and raised close to the sea, I used to consume saltwater fish every day. For the first time, it was hard for me not to eat saltwater fish daily while I had to move to another city in Java island that has more freshwater fish. However, after a year, I was getting used to.
Moved to Winnipeg, which has limitation in fish supply, I sometimes have to stock in the freezer. Plenty of typical tropical saltwater fish can be purchased in Asian stores or fish markets in frozen. Indian mackerels are ones of them, that also known as short body mackerels or the Indonesians call for ikan kembung.
Mangut is a Javanese style fish cooked in coconut milk. Back home, smoked stingray (Indonesian:ikan pari; Javanese: iwak pe) is commonly used for making mangut. To alter, stingray is also grilled and served with terasi sambal.
I had no idea that Indian macakrel can be cooked for mangut until I saw this recipe. As usual, I modified the recipe by using coconut cream powder, and adding terasi (dried shrimp paste). In addition, I did not deep fry the fish, but I pan-seared them. Thanks, Mommy Dian for the recipe.
Mackerel in Coconut Milk/Mangut Ikan Kembung
recipe by Yardian, modified by me
3 cleaned and scaled whole Indian (short body) mackerel
Spices to grind for marinating fish:
2 cm long (with1 cm diamter) fresh turmeric, toasted or roased, and peeled
3 cloves garlic
salt as desired
Mangut spices to grind
1-2 tbsps ground red chillies (I usually grind fresh red chilies once a while, put in a jar, and store in the freezer)
2 cm long fresh turmeric, peeled
1.5 cm long (2 cm diamter) fresh kencur, peeled
4 shallots (in Indonesia, you might need 6 shallots)
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp terasi (dried shrimp paste)
3 Indonesian bay leaves
500 ml waterl
1 package coconut cream powder (santan powder)
salt and sugar as desired to season
4 bilimbis (Indonesian: belimbing sayur), angle cut
green bird’s eye chilies as desired
1. Using a sharp knife, cut 4 diagonal 1-inch deep slits on each side of the fish. Cut slightly deeper toward the back fin of the fish. The slits will allows the seasoning to penetrate better and help fish to cook more evenly throughout.
2. Marinate fish for 20 minutes with the spices. Pan sear on both sides until done. Remove from the heat.
3. In a skillet, add 75 ml water, and ground mangut spices. Stir and bring them to a boil.
4. Add bilimbis, bird’s eye chilies, Indonesian bay leaves, the rest of the water, salt, sugar, and coconut cream powder. Add fish and cook until thickened. Remove from the heat. Serve with warmed rice.