Ikan Bakar Recipe: How to Make Ikan Bakar at Home

Ikan Bakar Recipe

Grilled fish, also known as Ikan Bakar in Malaysia, is a staple dish for all seafood lovers. We can’t find a better side dish than the charred and crispy fish skin wrapping its tender meat.

In most restaurants, you’ll typically see two types of grilled fish. One has the fish marinated with turmeric and salt, while the other uses more spices and herbs during marination. We’re a fan of all tgrilled fish dishes. 


Origin of Ikan Bakar

Centuries ago, the people living in archipelagos relied heavily on seafood as their sources of protein. We can trace the origin of grilled fish back to Indonesia, a country that is surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans.

This popular dish exists in many variations across Indonesia. Some recipes use saltwater fish while the others use freshwater fish. In Malaysia, you’ll see most ikan bakar served with a bowl of Air Asam, which is a spicy tamarind based dip.

Ikan Bakar Recipe

Recipe by LokaTasteDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time





If you like fish, give this Ikan Bakar recipe a try. This simple dish is the perfect side dish for your lunch or dinner. It’s healthy and tasty.


  • 800g of Siakap fish

  • 8 tablespoons of oil

  • 4 pieces of large turmeric leaves

  • 1 thinly sliced shallot (for the dipping sauce)

  • 1 lime (for the dipping sauce)

  • 1 teaspoon of tamarind juice (for the dipping sauce)

  • For the Marinade:
  • 4 shallots (sliced)

  • 2 medium onions (sliced)

  • 1 stalk lemongrass (sliced)

  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)

  • 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ginger (sliced)

  • 1/2 teaspoon of galangal (sliced)

  • 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder

  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder (for chili paste)

  • 1 tablespoon of cooking oil

  • 1 tablespoon of lime juice

  • 1 teaspoon of belacan (roasted)

  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar


  • First, in a bowl, add in some water and chilli powder. Stir well to make a thick paste.
  • Next, prepare the marinade. Blend all the marinade ingredients and the chilli paste into a smooth paste. Add water if necessary. Set aside.
  • Then, gently rub salt onto the gutted and cleaned fish. Wash off the salt from the fish and pat dry. Rub the marinade onto the fish and refrigerate overnight.
  • Wash and dry the turmeric leaves. Place the fish fillets on the leaf and wrap them individually. Next, wrap the leaf packets with aluminium foil.
  • If you have a grill, set it up and grill the fish for 15 minutes. If not, use the broil setting of an oven to cook for 15 minutes.
  • In the meantime, prepare the dipping. Squeeze the lime and mix the juice with tamarind juice and shallot. Add one sliced bird’s eye chilli if you enjoy spice.


  • If lime juice is not available in your kitchen, simply substitute it with lemon juice.
  • Spice lovers can use more chilli powder and bird’s eye chilli while preparing the dish.

Ways to enjoy Ikan Bakar

Pair your grilled fish with a bowl of white rice and some kangkung masak belacan, and you’re in for a treat.

While this recipe uses Siakap fish, feel free to opt for any fish of your choice. Both freshwater fish and saltwater fish can be used for this dish. We recommened using Siakap, seabass, stingray, or Pari fish. Make sure that the fish you use is fresh and filleted.

Explore other popular Malaysian delights with Lokataste Recipe and more!


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