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Jimbaran–Style Crispy Fish

A nod to the perfect simplicity of Jimbaran grilled fish, this recipe uses a turmeric-stained garlic and ginger oil that is brushed onto the delicate flesh of the fish as the skin crisps up in the pan. Its vibrant colors and fresh taste will transport you to the coastline of Bali!


Shared in partnership with Chef Lara Lee in celebration of her new cookbook A Splash of Soy — now available on Umamicart and wherever books are sold! Lara Lee is an Australian chef and award-winning food writer of Chinese-Indonesian heritage. In 2023, she won a James Beard Award for Journalism in Home Cooking.

15 Minutes
14 Ingredients
Spice Level

Learn to make it

Jimbaran–Style Crispy Fish

Recipe for Jimbaran–Style Crispy Fish


For 2 servings

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed, or 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp peeled and grated fresh ginger or ginger paste
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • Flavorless oil (such as canola) or coconut oil
  • 2 tsp kecap manis, plus extra to serve
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 thin white fish fillets, skin on and boneless (about 9-10oz), such as branzino or dorade
  • Flaky sea salt, to taste
  • Ground white pepper, to taste
  • Scant ½ c plain flour
  • Lime wedges, to serve
  • Slices of cucumber and tomato, to serve
  • Sambal Oelek or Sambal Bajak (optional), to serve
  • Steamed white rice, to serve

Step by step

step 1

Prep the sauces: Mix the garlic, ginger, turmeric and 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl and set aside. Mix the kecap manis and melted butter in another small bowl and set aside.

step 2

Prep the fish: Pat the fish dry and season both sides with salt and white pepper. Score the skin using a sharp knife at ½"-¾" intervals, cutting through the skin only. Put the plain flour on a large plate, then place the fish skin-side down onto the flour to coat. Dust off any excess.

step 3

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the fish skin-side down. Apply light pressure to the fish for 10 seconds so that the skin is flat against the hot pan; this will ensure it cooks evenly. Brush the turmeric mixture onto the flesh side with a pastry brush, coating the flesh so it is evenly orange all over.

step 4

Cook the fish for 2-3 minutes, or until the skin is golden and crispy; carefully lift up the fillets to check on the skin. Once the fish is two-thirds cooked, spoon a little of the kecap manis butter with a teaspoon onto the flesh and turn the fish over to cook the flesh side for 30-45 seconds until it is cooked through.

step 5

If your fish fillet is thicker (around 1½"–2½"), cook it skin-side down on a medium heat for around 6 minutes, or until three-quarters cooked. After brushing with the marinade and glaze, turn it over and then cook for a further minute, or until cooked through.

step 6

Remove the fish from the pan and leave it to rest for 2-3 minutes, skin-side up. Wash the pastry brush well and dry it.

step 7

To serve, place the fish on serving plates skin side up. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and brush the kecap manis butter over the skin. Squeeze over some lime juice. Serve with cucumber and tomato slices, sambal (if using), white rice and extra kecap manis on the side.