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Indonesian Fish with Lime, Lemongrass and Ginger

Indonesian Sour Fish From Sulawesi

Adapted from Sri Owen.
Course Entree
Cuisine seafood-fish
Keyword fish
Author TheSpicedLife


  • 2 lbs fish filets, I used Pacific cod
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1 small or 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 T minced fresh ginger
  • 1-3 t grated lemongrass, to taste (John likes it with more, I prefer less)
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, finely minced
  • 1/8 t turmeric
  • 1 1/2 cups clam juice
  • 3 medium sized tomatoes, peeled and chopped (I used frozen from last summer-if I were using fresh I would not bother peeling)
  • 2 T finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 3 T fresh lime juice, divided, plus more to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Jasmine rice for serving
  • Sambal Oelek for serving


  1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick (I always prefer nonstick when dealing with fish) skillet over medium heat. When it is shimmering, add the onion with a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper, ginger and lemongrass and continue cooking, stirring occasionally. Cook until the veggies have softened and the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the kaffir lime leaves and turmeric and stir in. Then add the clam juice and the tomatoes, with a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer. Add 2 tablespoons of the lime juice.
  3. Add the fish in a single layer. Adjust heat to maintain a gentle but somewhat brisk (more than just the occasional bubble) simmer. Cook each side of the fish, about 8 minutes total, until it flakes apart when pressed in the center.
  4. Add the basil and remaining lime juice. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve with Jasmine rice and Sambal Oelek for anyone who wants it hot.