Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Now that CNY is over, it’s time to get back to do some cooking, and boy did it feel great!

Other than all those pictures and memory of yummy hawker foods in Penang over that period, mom also gave me a fridge full of fish/prawns/pork/chicken all nicely frozen, and they are now sitting in my fridge here in PJ. Basically over the next few weeks, my grocery shopping only consists of fresh vegetables and some spices.

Gotta love mom!

black pomfret with sauce, rice, and some vege
black pomfret with sauce, rice, and some vege

Anyway, today I’m going to share with you this fairly simple recipe of black pomfret with sauce that I improvised from the classic Malay dish that’s often referred to as bawal hitam ber-sos.

You can usually find this dish at Malay restaurants, but it is also fairly common in the repertoire of Penang Nyonya cooking.

Unlike normal pomfret that’s best steamed, black pomfret has harsher and leaner meat that isn’t as flavorful, a stronger tasting sauce makes a good compliment to this fish. So here goes:

oyster sauce, dark soya sauce, and a bunch of other ingredients
oyster sauce, dark soya sauce, and a bunch of other ingredients

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes


  • 1 large black pomfret
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 bulb of garlic, chopped
  • 2 small red onion/shallots, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into rings
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into small slices
  • 3 chili padi, smashed
  • a few slices of ginger
  • 2 tablespoon  dark soya sauce
  • 2 tablespoon  oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoon soya sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper

this is how you prepare the awesomesauce
this is how you prepare the awesomesauce

You can start frying the fish, and in the mean time, prepare the sauce with another frying pan side by side. They should be done at just about the same time.

cooking instructions (fish):

  • generously cover the fish with turmeric powder and salt, leave for a few minutes
  • heat up enough oil to cover at least half the fish
  • fry fish for 8 minutes
  • flip over and fry the other side of the fish for another 6 minutes
  • the timing might differ slightly depending on the size of the fish, the idea is to get it to be golden brown

cooking instructions (sauce):

  • with mortar & pastel, crush red onion/shallot, garlic, and one of the chili padi
  • heat up 3 tablespoon of oil and add fry the resulting pulp until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes
  • add ginger, yellow onion, bell pepper, and the remaining chili padi
  • add oyster sauce, dark soya sauce, soya sauce , sugar, and pepper
  • add 1/4 cup of water
  • continue stirring until onion and bell pepper are soft, about 5-6 minutes

fry the pomfret separately, then pour on the sauce
fry the pomfret separately, then pour on the sauce

Pour the sauce over the pomfret and consume while hot. Best served with steam rice.

Happy cooking!

Discuss : KY cooks – Black Pomfret with sauce recipe

  1. Looks great! I don’t cook whole fish at home because I’ll be the only one eating it. So I just do fillets. Frank would faint if the whole apartment smells of fish, haha.

  2. Almost the same way with my mum cook.. haha!

  3. for a non-halal version, sprinkle some crunchy pork lard on it for a crispy bite! 😀

  4. What kind of oil do you use? 😀

  5. wah old skool pestle and mortar! Respect!

  6. Michelle chin

    I used to love promphet alot but now, i just dislike the taste.

    BTW, my mom uses black beans or taucu to deal with this fish. Like you, she would marinate it with curry powder/ tumeric/ pepper and salt,

    • Michelle: yaa, the “standard” chinese method is usually taucu, I was going to try that but didn’t have taucu on hand. Maybe next time 😀

  7. foodcrazee

    lovely . . .be better if u can score the fish so the tumeric powder will penetrate the flesh and sauce too. . .nom nom. . .way to go CHEF!

  8. Can the small white pomfret be used for this?

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