Ikan Tempra With Delicious Lime Sauce (Nyonya Sweet & Sour Fish)

I wish I can cook such dishes at home more frequently. It is not too difficult at all, and most importantly, it goes so well with plain rice. But fish isn’t cheap in Singapore, and cooking this on a weekday evening for dinner does take up quite some time which may not be feasible to do every week unless I get to knock off at 5pm every day.

What I love about this dish is that it’s all encompassing, i.e. almost a one-in-all pot. And the sauce with the softened onion slices; the sour but refreshing soy sauce gravy – it is all so delicious! I can just eat the rice with the gravy, but ok the fish itself has to be the star and it is. This is also a dish that anyone can prepare at home by themselves. Get the grocer to gut and descale the fish for you and the dish will be more than fifty percent done.


  • Black pomfret: 1, washed & gutted
  • Oil: for deep- or shallow-frying
  • Red onion (big): 2, sliced into rings
  • Water: 1/2 cup
  • Dark soy sauce: 1/2 tbsp
  • Lime juice: from 2 big limes
  • Sugar: 1/2 tbsp
  • Salt: 1/2 tsp
  • MSG: 1/2 tsp
  • Red / green chilli (optional): 4, sliced into long strips


  1. Deep- or shallow-fry fish in oil till it is starting to brown. Set aside on a serving dish.
  2. Leave 2 tbsp oil in wok and remove the rest.
  3. Saute onions for 1min.
  4. Add in water, dark soy sauce & lime juice. Leave to simmer for a while.
  5. Stir in sugar, salt and MSG.
  6. Stir in chilli strips. Give a quick stir to combine.
  7. Pour sauce over fish to serve.

3 persons as a side dish

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