Ikan Pepes garnished for food recipe

Ikan Pepes

This is our version of Ikan Pepes - straight oven roasting! But you can do it the old way too. Whole fish, or fillets marinated in awesome chilli based paste, packed with flavour and smoke!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Marinate Time 2 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Malay
Servings 2 people
Calories 437 kcal


  • Oven
  • Blender
  • Toothpick



  • 10 pieces Shallot
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 6 pieces Candlenut
  • 1 cm Turmeric peeled
  • 2 cm Galangal peeled
  • 6 pieces Red Chilli
  • 2 tsp Belacan
  • 1 tsp Tamarind


  • 600 grams Fish Fillets
  • 4 pieces Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp White Pepper
  • 4 pieces Banana Leaves
  • 4 qty Calamansi Limes
  • 8 tbsp Oil


  • Add all the rempah ingredients together into a blender and blend (with a little water - if required) until you get a thick smooth paste.
  • Heat up yor wok or fry pan over a medium heat and fry your rempah (with some oil) - and fry until the paste is fragrant. Mix in your salt, sugar and set aside to cool down.
  • Prepare your fish. If fillets, score and debone. and spread the rempah and coat evenly, add kaffir lime leaves.
  • Put aside the marinated fish in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes or 2 hours to maximise the flavours.
  • Using a pot of water, soften banana leaves and wrap your fish inside.
  • Secure it with toothpicks or trussing strings.
  • Bake at preheated oven at 200 deg C for about 15-20 minutes or until cooked.
  • Served with some calamansi limes.


  1. Pestle and Mortar - Use a pestle and mortar for your rempah paste if you can. The flavours are generally more intense because you don't need any water. Ingredients are 'bruised' instead of grinded yielding a superior aroma.
  2. Fish types - You could use any type of fish for this recipe, however, meaty fishes like 'kembong' is generally better to absorb the sauces.
  3. Rempah 'Readiness' - Most will ask when is the rempah ready? The term 'till fragrant' refers to aroma, if the chilli and spices perfumate the entire kitchen and also if the oil in the pan is staining red.
  4. Softening of banana leaves - You can soften it while blanching it some hot water, or you can steam the leaves for roughly 15 minutes and use while its warm.
  5. Toothpicks? - The easiest cheat that I can share is use your good ole trusty paper staplers. Its way easier!
  6. Bake, grilling, bbq? - The 'nicest' way to do this is actually by steaming the fish for 10 minutes, then putting is over a charcoal bbq for another 10 until the banana leaf is all blistery. But not everyone has a bbq at home yeah?
Keyword hawker, seafood

You may also enjoy these Recipes

Chicken Rendang Recipe Image

Chicken Rendang

Chicken rendang is a traditional malay dish that is chicken stew with exotic spices and simmered in coconut cream. People often mistaken chicken rendang to be the same as chicken curry. They are similar in flavor as they uses the same kind of spices in their recipes.

Read More »
Ondeh Ondeh Recipe Image

Ondeh Ondeh

Ondeh Ondeh is a popular Malay sweet snacks that is made using glutinous rice flour infused with pandan flavouring and coated in grated coconut. The tiny balls make it very addicitive to keep eating them without realising the calories. You might find some of the Ondeh Ondeh is orange in color instead of the usual green ones we find outside.

Read More »

Over 30,000+ Participants have enjoyed our Cooking Classes in Singapore! Join us at D’Open Kitchen & have fun right away!

Cooking Classes Singapore

eat, dine & drink

Fill in your details and we’ll be in touch

Open chat