Stuffed Black Pomfret with Lemongrass

What is the difference between white pomfret and black pomfret? Honestly, I have no clue. But we always steam white pomfret with ginger or deep-fry then luxuriously slather it with sweet soy sauce or sweet and sour sauce. With black pomfret, we stuff it with lemongrass and, again, deep-fry.

There is very noticeable texture and taste between the two. White pomfret is somewhat smoother and milder in taste. Black pomfret is more flaky and has earthy taste to it. These are the reasons why steaming is not such a great way to enjoy it. Since black pomfret is usually bigger in size, hence thicker meat, it is a great deep-fried fish.

Stuffed Black Pomfret with Lemongrass

Back to the stuffing, I am a sucker for lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. They are just the most perfect couple in the world of spices. So, both ingredients, plus many others, such as chillies and shallots, are coarsely ground. A deep cut on the side of the fish is made and the stuffing is inserted. The whole fish is then deep fried till crunchy. The flaky meat is infused by the fragrant spices. A mouthful of fish and spices with steamed rice. It is just simply delicious!


Stuffed Black Pomfret with Lemongrass

Makes 4 servings


370 g black pomfret, washed, pat dried and innards removed
2 cups cooking oil, for deep frying

For spice stuffing
25 g red chilies
6 (25 g) shallots
2 (10 g) garlic cloves
3 whole candlenut, toasted
1 cm fresh turmeric root
3 kaffir lime leaves
2 stalks lemongrass
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar


Grind all spices ingredient in a food processor or pound in a mortal and pestle
Make a deep cut on the top side of the fish. Insert the stuffing as much as you can
Deep fry the fish in hot oil for 10 minutes each side, till both sides are cooked. Serve with steamed rice

Stuffed black pomfret can be grilled on open fire or grill pan.
Remove chilies' seeds before grinding if milder taste is preferred.
Also known as "Bawal Hitam Goreng Serai" in Indonesian.

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    4 Responses to “Stuffed Black Pomfret with Lemongrass”

    1. 1

      Pepy @Indonesia Eats — July 16, 2010 @ 5:45 am

      My maid used to make white pormfrets for North Sumatran Panggang Pacak.

      Both of pomfrest belong to a different family.

      • Jun replied: — July 16th, 2010 @ 5:59 am

        Really? I had no idea both fish are different species all together.

        Again, never had Panggang Pacak either. You are so well read about Indonesian cooking. Thanks for clarifying, Pepy!

    2. 2

      asianfoodophile — August 3, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

      Black pomfret has a distinct aroma that is infused into the curry gravy. Blacy pomfret curry with ladies fingers is utterly divine.

    3. 3

      Nik Linda — January 5, 2012 @ 2:36 am

      Hi Jun,
      I’m your new fan. Your website looks fantastic with interesting recipes. Tried your recipe last night while looking for ideas for pomfret. The taste is divine! Thanks for the fab recipe. Tonite, I’m gonna try the Udang Nestum, hope it tastes good too. Can’t wait for the sun to go down ;-p

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