One popular dish from East Timor is “Ikan Sabuko,” which is a spicy grilled fish dish. Here’s a concise version of the recipe:


  • 1 whole fish (such as snapper or mackerel), cleaned and gutted
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 red chili peppers, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Banana leaves (optional, for grilling)


  1. In a small bowl, mix together minced garlic, minced chili peppers, tamarind paste, soy sauce, vegetable oil, salt, and pepper to make a marinade.
  2. Score the fish on both sides with shallow diagonal cuts.
  3. Rub the marinade all over the fish, making sure to coat it well, including the inside cavity.
  4. If using banana leaves, place the marinated fish on a large piece of banana leaf and wrap it securely, creating a packet.
  5. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat.
  6. If using banana leaves, place the wrapped fish directly on the grill. If not using banana leaves, you can place the fish directly on the grill grates.
  7. Grill the fish for about 5-7 minutes per side, or until it is cooked through and has a slightly charred and crispy exterior.
  8. Remove the fish from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes.
  9. Unwrap the fish if using banana leaves, and transfer it to a serving platter.
  10. Serve the Ikan Sabuko hot with steamed rice and lime wedges.

Enjoy the flavorful and spicy Ikan Sabuko from East Timor!



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