Ikan pesmol is a popular Sundanese dish of fried whole fish basted in a thick, delicious sauce, consisting of lemongrass, galangal, chillies, and other ingredients.
- 1 medium gourami (around 500 gr)
- 1 small lemon
- 8 shallots, peeled, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
- 3 cm fresh turmeric, peeled, chopped
- 2 cm fresh ginger, peeled, chopped
- 2 candlenuts, chopped
- 2 cm galangal, bruised
- 1 lemongrass, use only the white part, bruised, knotted
- 1 Indonesian bay leaf (daun salam)
- Salt to taste
- 0.5 tsp chicken stock powder
- 0.5 tsp sugar
- 150 ml water
- 10 fresh bird’s eye chillies
- Oil for deep frying and sautéing
- Clean and wash the fish thoroughly, and then sprinkle with salt and lemon juice. Rub the fish all over, set aside.
- Blend into a fine paste: shallots, garlic, turmeric, ginger and candlenuts.
- In a deep frying pan, heat enough oil over a medium high flame and deep fry the fish until golden, around 10 minutes each side.
- Discard the oil used for frying.
- In a clean wok, heat 3 tbsp oil over medium high heat, and sauté the spice paste until fragrant, around 3 minutes.
- Add galangal, lemongrass and the bay leaf.
- Add the water.
- Season with salt, chicken stock cube and sugar.
- Add the fresh chillies.
- Add the fish. Baste the fish with the spice mixture.
- Continue cooking until the sauce is reduced and thickened.
- Transfer the fish to a serving plate and serve immediately.
TIPS for choosing fresh fish:
- The fish should have bright and clear eyes with a firm texture.
- The redder the gill, the fresher the fish.
- Touch the stomach. It should be firm. If it feels soft, the fish is no longer fresh.
- Fresh fish should have its scales firmly attached to the skin.
Keywords: Spicy, Lemongrass, Marinade, Garlic, Turmeric