Fried Fish in Honey Lemon Sauce (Indonesian: Ikan Goreng Saus Lemon) has been one of my favorite food since childhood. The crispy fried fish sticks, paired with a thick and sticky honey lemon sauce is truly delicious.
To ensure that guests can enjoy the crispy fish sticks, some restaurants separate the fried fish and the lemon sauce. Right before serving, the server will combine the fish sticks and the lemon sauce in front of the guests before placing the dish on the table.
I don’t usually do the above since I always serve this dish immediately right before our meal, but it is a neat trick if you are preparing this dish in advance.
Ingredients for fried fish in honey lemon sauce
1. Fried fish sticks, or fried fish fingers
For the fried fish sticks, we will need fish fillet, lemon juice, all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, bread crumbs, water, and oil for deep-frying.
You can use tilapia, red snapper, cod, haddock, pollock, or other firm flesh white fish that are suitable for fish sticks.
If you don’t feel like making your own fried fish sticks from scratch, you can buy fish sticks in the frozen aisle of your supermarket and follow the packaging instruction.
2. Honey lemon sauce
For the honey lemon sauce, we will need unsalted butter, onion, garlic, lemon, honey, chicken stock, salt, sugar, tapioca starch, and scallions.
This sauce is all about lemon, so be sure to use some lovely fresh lemons to get their zest and juice.
Although you can always use lemon concentrate in a pinch, I highly advise waiting until you can get some fresh lemons before trying this recipe.
Fish sticks: marinating, coating, and frying
1. Marinate fish
Cut fish fillets into sticks/batons, then marinate with salt and lemon juice for 15 minutes.
2. Coat fish
Mix all-purpose flour, salt, sugar, and water into a thick paste. Add this to the marinated fish and mix well. Finally, coat the fish with bread crumbs and set aside.
3. Deep fry fish
Heat enough oil in a pot for deep-frying over medium heat. Once the oil is hot (180 Celsius/350 Fahrenheit), fry the fish until the surface is crispy and golden brown.
Remove fried fish sticks with a slotted spoon and drain excess oil over a wire rack. Please don’t drain fried fish on paper towels since they will become soggy.
Honey lemon sauce
Make sure you have all the ingredients for honey lemon sauce ready before cooking since this sauce cook in a matter of minutes.
Start by melting butter in a wok/skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onion and garlic until fragrant and the onion is translucent.
Add chicken stock, lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, and salt. Stir to mix and cook until boiling.
Give the sauce a quick taste test. You may want to add 1-2 tablespoons of sugar if the sauce is too sour.
Once you are happy with the flavor, add the cornstarch slurry, and cook for 2 minutes to thicken the sauce.
Return fried fish sticks to the wok/skillet, and toss gently to coat. Turn off the heat, and garnish with thinly sliced scallions.
Finally, transfer the finished dish to a serving plate and serve immediately.
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