Malaysian Fried Mackerel with a Spicy Sambal

Mackerel is one of the most under rated fish, often thought of as only good for bait. Chefs and good cooks of course know that it is an extremely versatile fish with a strong flavour that isn't over powering. Cured, raw, barbecued, roasted, grilled and fried all work well this tasty fish. The trick is to always eat Mackerel on the day it is caught, the fresher the better.

4 Portions
Prep: 30 minutes (1 hour marinating)
Cook: 10 minutes fish and 30 minutes sambal


Mackeral Marinade

  • 8 Mackerel fillets
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2cm piece of fresh turmeric, peeled and finely chopped or 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped coriander
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Cook

  • 200g corn flour
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • oil for deep-frying

Tomato Sambal

  • 6 medium tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and bruised with the side of a knife
  • 2 large red chillies, stems removed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp Thai fish sauce


  1. Mackerel Marinade: Place the Mackerel on a large plate or bowl, add all the marinade ingredients. Toss in the marinade so that the Mackerel is well coated and the ingredients well distributed. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour, to allow the flavours to develop.
  2. Tomato Sambal: Preheat an oven to 200C. Place the tomatoes, garlic and chillies in an oven proof container, coat all the ingredients in the olive oil. Put in the hot oven cook for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. When cooled roughly chop the tomatoes and finely chop the garlic, and chilli. Place the tomato, garlic and chilli in a bowl, stir in the remaining ingredients lightly until well combined. Set aside until ready to serve.
  3. To Deep Fry: Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 180°C or in a deep frying pan or wok until a cube of bread rises straight to the top and is crisp and golden. Add the corn flour to the marinated Mackerel, coat each fillet in the flour then dip in the beaten egg (the fillets should still have some of the marinade ingredients on them). Deep fry in batches 2-3 fillets at a time, for 2-3 minutes until they are crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm until all the fish is cooked. Serve at once.
  4. To Serve: Place 2 fillets on each plate, accompany with a little tomato sambal and boiled rice.