The recipe will make more sambal than you need for the grilled fish, but they'll keep refrigerated in an airtight container for a couple of weeks and you can prepare them well ahead of time.
- 1 large red or white snapper (1 - 1.2 kg), cleaned
- 1½ tsp salt
- 3 stalks lemongrass, white part only, bruised
- 6-8 makrut lime leaves, torn
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 2 large pieces banana leaf, washed
- lime wedges and steamed rice, to serve
- 6 red Asian shallots, chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 300 g long red chillies, stems removed, coarsely chopped
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp salt
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 lime, juiced
- 300 g large green chillies, stems removed, coarsely chopped
- 4 green bird's eye chillies, stems removed, coarsely chopped
- 6 red Asian shallots
- 3 green tomatoes (about 200 g), chopped
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 lemongrass stalks, white part only, bruised
- 10 makrut lime leaves, torn
- 1 large lime, zested and juiced
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 10 g belacan (shrimp paste)
- 4 red Asian shallots, chopped
- 4 red bird's eye chillies, stems removed, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 lime, zested
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp sugar
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. For the sambal balado, place tomato and shallots and tomato in a food processor and blitz for 5 seconds, then add the chillies and process until a coarse paste forms.
2. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan over low-medium heat. Add the paste, salt and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes or until thickened and the colour has changed to a deep red but not browned. Stir in the lime juice, then adjust with extra sugar or salt if necessary. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
3. For the sambal hijau, place the chillies, shallots and green tomatoes in a food processor and process until a coarse paste forms.
4. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan over low-medium heat. Add the paste, lemongrass and lime leaves and cook, stirring regularly for 5 minutes. Stir in the lime zest and juice, sugar and salt and cook for another 10 minutes or until the liquid in the pan has evaporated. Remove and discard the lemongrass and lime leaves, then adjust with extra sugar or salt if necessary. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
5. For the sambal matah, place the shrimp paste in a small dry frying pan over medium-low heat and toast for 3-4 minutes or until fragrant.
6. Place the shallots, chillies, garlic and lemongrass in a mortar and pound with a pestle until a paste forms. Add the remaining ingredients and pound until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
7. Meanwhile, preheat the chargrill or barbeque flat plate to medium-high. Rinse the fish under cold running water and pat dry with paper towel. Rub the cavity with ½ teaspoon of salt and stuff with the lemongrass and makrut lime leaves.
8. Make three diagonal slashes on both sides of the fish and rub ½ teaspoon of salt on each side. Rub the oil all over the fish, then wrap in the banana leaves. Cook for 10-15 minutes on each side or until just cooked through. Serve the fish with steamed rice, lime wedges and the sambals on the side.
Diana Chan is exploring the many dishes of Asia within Australia in the brand-new series, Asia Unplated with Diana Chan.