Fried Catfish with Chilli Sambal

Origin: Lamongan- East Java Province


  • 2 pc pieces / 500 gr/ 1 lb catfish, cleaned, washed
  • oil for deep-frying

Marinating paste

  • 3 gloves garlic
  • 2 cm fresh turmeric or 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 2 tbsp salt or to taste

Dried Shrimp Paste Sambal

  • 3 pc large red chilli, raughly chopped
  • 5 pc small red chillies / bird chillies
  • 3 pc shallots
  • 1 glove garlic
  • 1 tsp roasted shrimp paste/ terasi
  • 1 pc middle size tomato, raughly chopped
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste

Fried Catfish with Chilli Sambal

This is one of street dishes in East Java region: Pecel Lele. Pecel is actually refers to Sambal Pecel, a Peanut Sauce/ dressing which usually served with blanched vegetables. But Pecel here means other than this reference. Pecel Lele is a special dish which originated from Lamongan, a municipal city in East Java Province where the famous "Soto Lamongan" comes from.
Pecel Lele is a side dish which comprises of Crispy Fried Catfish, serve together with spicy sambal and raw vegetables/salad. But why the name have similarity with Sambal Pecel/ Peanut Dressing, I also have no idea???!!
But one thing I can assure you, this is a delicious side dish that I'd love to cook again and again ha ha 😉 A yummy & crunchy fried catfish with
HOT & SPICY sambal hmmmmmmmmmmm… a mouth watering Indonesian delicacy !!!!


  • Marinating and Frying the Fish: Clean & discard the fish innard & wash throughly ( rub with lime juice/tamarinde to get rid from fish mucus). Set aside to drain.
  • Grind garlic, turmeric, coriander & salt with stone mortar & pestle into smooth paste.
  • (If you use blender instead mortar, add litlle bit water from 250 ml water to help the blending process).
  • Transfer the mixture in a bowl, add 250 ml water (or rest of water )& stir to mix.
  • Adjust the seasoning liquid, add more sat if necessary. Transfer the fish into the bowl, rub around the fishes with the spaice mixture & let aside for 15 minutes to marinate.
  • Heat 500 ml or enough oil. Rub the catfish with the marianting paste then deep-fry the fish until crispy goldbrown. Set aside to drain.
  • Making Sambal Terasi Goreng: Heat 5 tbsp oil in a wok or saucepan over medium heat.
  • Fry chilli, shallot, garlic & tomato till just soften. (Do not fry the chilli too long otherwise they will be too hard to grind).
  • Transfer all fried ingredients onto grinding stone (or mortar & pestle) and grind until smooth.
  • Add the dried shrimp paste, pound it together to mix. Adjust the sesoning. Add salt & sugar to taste.
  • (If possible use grinding stone not blender. One meal sambal is to be made traditionally to get the best-authentic taste).
  • Serve Your Fried Catfish with rice, sambal terasi & raw vegetables (ex: cucumber, lettuce & lemon basil)
Keyword cat fish, chilli, Indonesian, sambal

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