Crispy fried fish batons coated with sublime thick honey lemon sauce. You just know you are going to have a tough time stopping yourself from eating the whole lot in one seating. If you do make this ikan goreng saus lemon – fried fish in honey lemon sauce, be sure to share. Or just make half portion if it’s for two. Although the recipe can easily serves 8, I can guarantee that even for 4, you’ll have to be fighting over the last bits.
It Doesn’t Have To Be Tilapia
This dish is super populer in Indonesia. Restaurants that serve this dish typically use more expensive fish such as red snapper (Indonesian: ikan kakap). But I find that it is not necessary to stick to using expensive fish. I have successfully prepare this dish with super cheap tilapia (Indonesian: ikan nila) and the slightly more expensive rock fish/grouper. As long as you stick to white fish with firm flesh, you should be fine.
Deep Frying 101
Most people hate deep frying, but to get that crunchy exterior enveloping each fish baton, you just had to brace yourself and learn how to deep fry. The most important thing is to make sure the batter is super thick. If you see standing water in your batter, I can guarantee that there will be lots of splatter during deep frying. The recipe I give should give a thick batter, but if for whatever reason you see a thin batter, add a bit more flour to make it thick. The rest of the deep frying steps should be a walk in the park. Once you get the hang of it, dishes like this, this, or this won’t be a trouble at all.
Honey Lemon Sauce
This honey lemon sauce is super easy and doesn’t need much. What you really want to do though is to stick to using real lemons, that way you get both the juice and the zest. The zest just adds so much depth to the overall flavor. In a pinch, you can use lemon concentrate, but it just won’t taste as nice. Obviously you can never really control how sour the lemons you get, so feel free to adjust the amount of sugar (and possibly salt) to tweak the sauce to your liking.
- 800 gram tilapia fish fillet, cut into batons
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 100 gram all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 150 ml water
- 2 cups all bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ onion (~ 200 gram), thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 lemons, zest and juiced (~ 2 tablespoon zest, ~ 4 tablespoon juice)
- ⅓ cup honey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups water (or stock)
- 1-2 tablespoon sugar, as needed
- tapioca slurry (2 tablespoon tapioca starch + 2 tablespoon water, mixed well)
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced (optional garnish)
- Marinate fish batons with lemon juice and salt for 15 minutes.
- Mix together all purpose flour, salt, sugar, and water into a paste. Add this to the marinated fish and gently toss to coat each fish baton.
- Heat enough oil in a wok/pot for deep frying over medium heat. Once the oil is hot (~ 180 Celsius / 350 Fahrenheit), coat the fish batons in bread crumbs and fry until golden brown.
- Set aside fried fish over strainer/wire rack to remove excess oil.
- Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Sauté onion and garlic until fragrant and the onion is translucent.
- Add in lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, and salt. Stir to mix well.
- Pour water (or stock) into the frying pan, mix well, and bring to a boil. Take a taste test. If the sauce is too sour, add sugar to reduce sourness.
- Thicken the sauce by stirring in the tapioca slurry. Keep on stirring until the sauce is thick, about 1-2 minutes.
- Return the fried fish to the pan, gently toss to coat. Transfer to a serving plate, garnish with thinly sliced scallions, and serve immediately.