Fried Fish with Sweet Soy Sauce

There are two most popular way to cook Silver Pomfret (ikan bawal) in Indonesian household, one is to steam with ginger, garlic and sesame oil. The other one is to cook it with soy sauce and chili or ikan kecap (ikan for fish, kecap for soy sauce). Fried fish with soy sauce is common dish in both Indonesian and Chinese restaurants.

The Indonesian-style fried fish soy sauce has to use Kecap Manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce). Other sweet soy sauce will result in different taste of sauce. Equally nice though, but not quite the same.

The sauce is cooked first, then the fried fish is added. The ingredients for the sauce are quick to prepare. This sweet, sour and spicy sauce is always a hit for children. Home cooked fish with soy is much healthier, since no additional cornstarch is added and less sugar. Serve with steamed rice.


Fried Fish with Sweet Soy Sauce, Ikan Bawal Kecap

Makes 2 servings


500 g Silver Pomfret (ikan bawal)
2 cups cooking oil, for deep-frying fish and 1/4 cup cooking oil for soy sauce base
5 shallots, sliced finely
1 tomato, quartered
2 red chilies, sliced thinly diagonally
5 tbsp sweet soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup water


Heat cooking oil in a wok or deep-fry pan till slightly smokey over high heat. Fry pomfret for 10 minutes, until golden brown. Drain on paper towel and set aside
Heat the rest of the cooking oil in the same wok over medium heat for a minute.

Add shallot, tomato and chili. Quickly stir for 30 seconds. Add soy sauce, sugar, lime juice and water, keep on stirring. Simmer and cover for 3 minutes.

Return fish to the sauce. Mix well till fish covered evenly with sauce. Cook for another minute. Remove from heat and serve with steamed rice.

Fish can be chargrilled or pan-fried instead of deep-fried.
The soy sauce base can be used for other seafood such as prawn, squid and crab.
For thicker, darker sauce, substitute sugar with shaved palm sugar and add more water with a tablespoon of corn starch. That will get you restaurant-style dish.

Step by Step

Fish with Soy Sauce Step by Step

| More |

9 Responses to “Fried Fish with Sweet Soy Sauce”

  1. 1

    Pepy @Indonesia Eats — June 22, 2010 @ 3:20 pm

    I was posting a fish too and using tauco :) ))

    But, I was too lazy to fry. I used broil, less oil and mess.

    • Jun replied: — November 6th, 2010 @ 8:14 am

      We have never broiled anything before, like .. ever! Would love to try, at least I can use that as an excuse to buy fancy dutch oven

  2. 2

    noobcook — June 24, 2010 @ 7:21 am

    I love sweet and sour sauce! I have to try this after I get over my phobia of deep frying a whole fish hehe ;)

    • Jun replied: — November 6th, 2010 @ 8:15 am

      That makes the two of us! I don’t think I can manage deep-frying fish all by myself!

  3. 3

    Tien — June 24, 2010 @ 10:44 am

    Oh, my. This dish looks so good. It makes my mouth water. -Tien

    • Jun replied: — November 6th, 2010 @ 8:15 am

      Thank you for visiting, Tien!

  4. 4

    tigerfish — June 25, 2010 @ 3:20 am

    I am more familiar with steamed pomfret due to my Dad’s Teochew origin :) ..
    but this sweet soy version with chili and tomatoes sounds very appetizing too.

    • Jun replied: — November 6th, 2010 @ 8:16 am

      I know deep-frying fish is really not the healthiest way to enjoy this beautiful pomfret, but its crunchiness makes everything okay. Not healthy, but yummy!

  5. 5

    Joan — April 19, 2012 @ 2:35 am

    omg, so tasty! I’m so hungry now!!! so long didn’t had this …. you reminds me! thanks :)

Leave a Comment