Masak Santan Lemak Ikan Cili Cekur


  • 1.5kg of fresh fish (we used Ikan Kaloi / Giant Gourami)
  • 2 cups of Coconut milk
  • 3 pieces of Ginger
  • 6 pieces of red Onion
  • 6 cloves of Garlic
  • 8 pieces of Turmeric
  • 4 whole Large Red Chilli
  • 4 whole Large Green Chilli
  • 3 stalks of Coriander Leaves (for garnish)
  • 10 fruit of Belimbing Buluh / Sorrel Tree (Averrhoa bilimbi) (if unable to find, use 2 slices of lemon)
  • 10 leaves of Cekur / Sand ginger (Kaempferia galanga) (if unable to find, use 2 pieces of turmeric leaf)
  • 5 rhizomes of Cekur / Sand ginger (Kaempferia galanga) (if unable to find use extra ginger)
  • 6 stalks of Lemongrass
  • 1 pack of Belacan / Shrimp Paste
  • 0.5 litre of Cooking Oil
  • Salt
  • Brown Sugar
  • 1 Banana Leaf


Utensils: Large Wok Batu Lesung or Mortar and Pestle (local slang Tumbok/Punch) Large Mixing Bowl 2 x Tray / Dish 50cm diameter with 2cm sides Fish Preparation: Clean fish and remove scales but leave skin on. Cut fish into equal size portions, approximately 200gm each and place on a tray. Seasoning Preparation: Peel 4 pieces of Turmeric and place in mortar along with 3 pieces of lemongrass stalks cut into 10cm lengths. Add one dessert spoon of salt (or to taste). Grind ingredients with the pestle until they become a lumpy paste. Rub the seasoning onto the skin of all the pieces of fish. Cover the fish with a banana leaf if available or other cover. For best flavour, place the tray in the fridge for half an hour. Sauce Preparation: Peel all the ginger, garlic, cekur rhizomes along with 4 pieces of turmeric, and place into the mortar along with 3 stalks of lemongrass cut into 10cm lengths. Add in 5 leaves of cekur and 20 grams of shrimp paste, Cut the onions as well as 3 red and 3 green chilis into small pieces and add into the mortar. Use the pestle to grind the ingredients into a lumpy paste. (this may take a few minutes). Cooking the fish: Place the wok on high heat and add in 3 tablespoons of cooking oil, Wait until the oil is hot, then place 2 pieces of fish at a time in the oil. Cook for one minute on each side, remove and place in a tray. When all cooked, cover the tray with banana leaf or other cover. Add the sauce into the wok and cook until mixture is slightly golden colour. Add two cups of water and 5 chopped leaves of Cekur. Bring mixture to a simmer then add 2 cups of coconut milk. Bring to simmer again and wait for 2 minutes before adding all the fish and the belimbing buluh. Cover the wok with a  banana leaf (or wok lid) and cook for 15 – 20 minutes, until the fish is cooked all the way through. Add salt and brown sugar to taste.

Plating Up

Place fish onto plate with gravy to suit, and decorate with coriander and thin strips of chili. Enjoy!

Chef Shyleena Faridah Hope

Shyleena Faridah Hope is a proud mother, professional model and passionate cook who loves to share her recipes with family and friends. Shyleena’s family comes from two separate areas of Asia resulting in a fusion of tastes when she gets in the kitchen.

Wine Match

Yealands Chardonnay
Peter Yealands Chardonnay 2017 (Hawke’s Bay)
Exhibits guava, citrus and stone fruit flavours which combine seamlessly with the subtle toasty oak.  The palate combines ripe fruit, lees complexity and subtle oak with a fresh elegant finish.

Lanjut Beach & Golf Resort

Situated at Kuala Rompin between the Johore-Pahang border on the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, this modern resort is a perfect base for fishermen coming here in pursuit of Sailfish. ​ Spread over 500 acres of land it is flanked by a private beach stretching along 3.5 kilometers. A stroll across the golf course will be punctuated by wandering monkeys and hornbills flying by.