Sambal Stuffed hard Tail Scad (Ikan Cencaru)

Sambal Stuffed hard Tail Scad (Ikan Cencaru)

Hardtail Scad aka Ikan Cencaru has very hard and tough skin. It is exactly this skin-texture that keep the meat inside firm and tender when pan-fried, deep-fried or grilled. Personally feel that eating this fish with our finger will be the best way to peel the fish skin and enjoy the fish. 

(suggested recipe from The Viandd)

Serving: 4

Time: 60 mins

Difficult level: intermediate


  • 4 Hardtail Scad (Ikan Cencaru) – with the head attach.

Sambal Paste:

(Just a handful of everything; if U prefer a stronger flavor of a certain ingredient, simply add a little extra of that ingredient (no rocket scientific measurement here). Always taste your Seasoning !!!)

  • Tamarind mixture
  • Belacan (Shrimp paste)
  • soaked Dried Shrimps
  • Lemon grass (just the stalk), 
  • Fresh Chillies,
  • soaked Dried chilies,
  • Onion (sliced some for later use),
  • Ginger, Shallots, Garlic, Chilli Padi (Birds Eye Chilli) – all roughly cubed (just for easy Blending).
  • Curry leave – optional.
  • lime (halved)

Step by step:

Preparing the Sambal Stuff

  1. Blend all Sambal ingredients (except the Curry leaves) into a smooth paste. Leave aside a small amount of the sliced Onion for later use.
  2. Heat up some oil, saute the Curry leaves till aromatic. Then add in the Sambal paste in low heat. Stirred constantly to prevent the bottom from burning.
  3. After about 20 minutes, the paste will get really aromatic and U can see the oil separating to the top.
  4. Add in the sliced Onion that was kept aside earlier. This will give that extra texture – optional. Add the Tamarind mixture, Salt and Sugar to taste.
    Saute a while more till the Onion soften, set aside.

Stuffing and Frying the Fish

  1. Meanwhile, make two slits lengthwise along the dorsal side of the fish (one on each side) to form a pocket.
  2. Stuff the slits with the cooked sambal, also a little in the fish stomach. Press firmly.
  3. Heat oil to smoking hot. Lower to medium and fry for about 10 minutes (or more until lightly charred) before flipping them over to fry the other side. Avoid flipping over too many times to prevent the sambal from getting displaced. Dish out and let it rest for a few minutes to drain excess oil. Serve alongside with some halved lime.


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