The original recipe uses Ikan Mas (literally translated as gold fish, but this one is actually translated as Carp)

Since I haven’t found “Ikan Mas” here, I substituted for Tilapia (Indonesia: Ikan Nila). I thought it is the same because both of those fish are farmed in freshwater.

Category:Fish and Shellfish

1 whole tilapia (500 g)
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
350 cc water
oil for frying

2 cloves garlic
7 shallots
3 candlenuts, toasted
6 bird’s eye chillies
2 tsp sambal oelek (Original recipe uses 4 red chillies)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp tamarind juice (Original recipe uses 1 tsp tamarind juice, to make tamarind juice from tamarind pulp, combine 1 tsp tamarind pulp with 3 tbsp very warm water, stir evenly)
1 tsp ground turmeric (Original recipe uses 3 cm fresh turmeric, peeled)
2 cm galangal, crushed

1. Clean the fish by cleaning out the stomach cavity, removing the gills and surrounding tissue, and scaling them. I bought a cleaned whole tilpaia so no need to do this step, I just rinsed out.
2. Cut a whole tilapia into two pieces. Rub fish inside and out with lime juice. Let stand for 30 minutes.
3. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Deep fry the fish until golden brown.
4. Blend or grind garlic, 3 shallots and candlenuts. Mix ground spices with ground turmeric, sambal oelek and salt.
5. Stir fry mixture spices until fragrant. Add bird’s eye chilies, 4 whole peeled shallots, sugar, tamarind juice, galangal, water, and salt(only if you need). Add fish, reduce medium-low heat. Simmer for a few minutes, allowing the fish to permeate the spices. Remove from heat and serve with steamed rice.


  1. It’s unfortunate that we Indonesians have the same name for gold fish (the ones we keep in aquariums) and carp (the ones we eat), namely Ikan Mas.

  2. Actually I think I remember seeing Sun Wah supermarket in Winnipeg’s Chinatown area sells frozen carps as well as tilapias. I used to buy frozen grouper (imported Indonesian kerapu) there.


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