Recipe: Nyonya Pickled Fish

Although it’s no more MCO and many of us are more or less back to our previous routines, we are still highly encouraged to stay home when we can. Here’s another recipe for the home cooks who would like to try their hands on something new!

Nyonya Pickled Fish

by Margarita Lee

Margarita Lee


  • 10-12 Smelt fish 
  • 1/2 tbsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Fresh turmeric paste / turmeric powder 
  • 1 cup Cooking oil


  • 1 Bulb garlic, sliced thinly
  • 100g Ginger, julienne
  • 30g Turmeric root, sliced thinly
  • 2 Red chillies, julienne
  • 2 Green chillies, julienne
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable oil 
  • 300ml White vinegar 
  • 4-5 tbsp Sugar 
  • 1 tsp Salt 
  • 1 tsp Toasted sesame seeds
Photo by Margarita Lee


  1. Clean the fish and drain. Season fish with salt and turmeric paste.  
  2. Deep fry fish until crispy. Set aside.
  3. Fry the turmeric with 1/2 cup of oil until crispy. Discard the turmeric. 
  4. Add in ginger and garlic, then stir fry until golden brown.  
  5. Turn off the heat, add in turmeric root, chillies, vinegar, sugar and salt. Stir until sugar is dissolved. 
  6. Transfer the marinade into the pot and add the fried fish to the mixture. Keep the fish submerged in the vinegar mixture at least 2 to 3 hours before serving. Garnish with sesame seeds. 
  7. The fish is best served the next day.
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See Foon

SeeFoon Chan-Koppen has been writing a food column called Musings on Food in the Ipoh Echo since 2009. It is widely read both in print as well as online which receives more than 1 million hits a month. Her forte is in communications, having honed her skills after graduating from the University of Singapore where she worked for the Straits Times Group and was a food critic for the New Nation. Her knowledge of food and cooking come from more than 30 years in the hotel industry based in Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong and subsequently Kuala Lumpur. During this time, she has travelled all over the world and eaten at the best and worst restaurants. She is totally intimate with the subtleties and nuances of most cuisines of the world having been involved in opening over 50 hotels throughout the Asia/Pacific region and China where she helped to conceptualize Food and Beverage themes and critiqued on food quality. SeeFoon calls herself a global citizen and now chooses the serenity and friendliness of Ipoh to the bright lights of the many cities she has lived in. She also loves the food in Ipoh and is passionate about telling the world about it.

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