I love Kembong Fish, and if there was a choice between Selar and Kembong, I would choose the latter. The flesh of the Kembong fish is sweet and delicious, much nicer than the Selar. Try it.
I love having the fish fried with a little oil and making diagonal cuts along the slides of the fish to fill its guts with freshly chopped red chillis that have been mixed with a sprinkle of sea salt.
I like it fried until it is crispy and crunchy when you bite into it and with a squish of lime – it is perfect. The confluence of salty, sour and spicy flavours mixed together just makes you want to munch the crispy fish head. The perfect dish to accompany any meal, especially porridge.
Kembong Fish (a few will do actually, usually I am only cooking for me and my wife)
Red Chilli 2 pcs (chopped with a sprinkle of sea salt)
Sea Salt (just a sprinkle will do)
Calamansi Lime 2 Whole
1. Wash the fish and remove the guts if you haven’t already. If you are not eating the fish on the same day, it is better to keep the guts of the fish in when buying the fish. This helps to keep it fresh longer.
2. Score the sides of the fish deep enough to create pockets to fill the sambal (aka chilli) paste.
3. Chop the red chillis until a fine paste. This paste I also call sambal. It’s a Malay word that means chilli? Sprinkle a little sea salt and give it a good mix with the spoon.
4. Fill the fish with the sambal paste and the fry it under medium heat in a frying pan. Make sure there is sufficient oil so that it can be crispy and crunchy when you bite it.
5. I usually use Olive oil or soya bean oil. The last thing you should be using is any vegetable oil that lists palm oil as its main ingredients. Palm oil is not healthy for you. So Olive or soya bean is best.
6. Serving suggestion: you may add a little bit of coriander leaves for colour, a drizzle of dark soya sauce if you want more flavour and a slight sweetness. Otherwise it is good just as it is.