Excellent Fish

There's a long story attached to this recipe: Debbie and I went to Bali and Lombok for our honeymoon. We stayed in Bali for a little over a week, then went to the neighboring island of Lombok. Debbie had read in a travel guide that there were some interesting islands off Lombok, and the one that was most developed was Gili Trawangan. So we went. We were carried to a "motorboat" (more like a canoe with an outboard motor and an open jug of gas for fuel) and after an hour we wound up on the island. We then took a "taxi" (horse cart) around to look at all of the accomodations. We finally settled on the Majestic, because they had doors on the rooms and the "toilet" (concrete bunker behind the room with a hole in the ground) had running water (sea water from a pipe sticking through the concrete). The room was expensive for Gili Trawangan: 8,000 rupiah, including breakfast for two ($4 in US dollars). By the time we found the room, the sun was starting to set; we followed the guide book's advice and chose the Excellent restaurant, which was the best move of the day. They had cold Australian beer and some of the best food we ate on the trip, Grilled Red Snapper and Prawns Excellent Style. They also had a radio playing, and "Wonderful Tonight" came on, but the story is long enough already.

This is an Indonesian dish; you should be able to find all of the ingredients if you have a well-stocked oriental market around. If you can't find something, just leave it out (candlenuts and salam leaves were a challenge for me).



The shrimp paste smells pretty strong, and the seafood spice paste can stain your hands, countertop, utensils, etc. We wrapped the leftover shrimp paste in layers of plastic and a few Ziplok bags, but it didn't help. Be warned.

Copyright © Steve Shoyer