Sambal Roa

1 min read
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This is meant to be made with smoked roa fish, which is a species of halfbeak, but because I’m in the UK at the moment I used smoked mackerel and it tasted perfectly fine. But yeah, for the purists out there of course sambal roa should be made with ikan roa. Takes 30-45 minutes all in all.

Adapted from here.



  • 220 g smoked roa (or just smoked mackerel)
  • 100 g shallots
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 125 g red birdseye chillis
  • 60 g red cayenne chillis
  • 200 g tomato, diced
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced


Blend up the shallots, garlic, and chilli

Break up the smoked fish and fry in a little oil until browned and a little tough (~7 mins, medium heat)

Grind the smoked fish in a pestle and mortar as best you can (don’t worry too much - see photos)

Using the oil from earlier, fry up the blended bits, lime leaves, and ground fish together until fragrant

Add the tomatoes and a little water if it’s dry

Cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes turn to mush and there’s not really any liquid left (~10 mins, low-medium heat)