Hot & Spicy Fish "Pizza" Recipe With Sambal Oelek - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures Hot & Spicy Fish "Pizza" Recipe With Sambal Oelek
THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods

Also visit our main website,

Food Fun: Hot & Spicy Fish “Pizza” Recipe With Sambal Oelek

Baked Rockfish With Sambal Chili Paste
[2] Rockfish with sambal sauce (photo © Gunsmoke Restaurant | Hollywood) .

Different Species Of Rockfish In A Tray
[2] Different species of rockfish, all from California (photo © Calder Deyerle | Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust).

Sambal Olek, Indonesian Hot Chili Paste
[3] Sambal olek, Indonesian hot chili paste. Here’s a recipe (photo © McCormick).


Well it isn’t actually a pizza, but doesn’t this California rockfish from Gunsmoke, an Asian fusion restaurant in Hollywood, look like a slice? But indeed, it is fish, topped with sambal oelek (more about that in a minute), cherry tomatoes, and fresh herbs. A recipe is below.

(The rockfish is currently on the menu with sambal and crispy shallots.)

Chef Brandon Kida serves cuisine that blends Japanese flavor with Californian, Filipino, French, Mexican, and Spanish cuisines.

The restaurant is called Gunsmoke because it’s located in the building which once housed the CBS studio where the original “Gunsmoke” radio show was produced.

Sambal is a hot Indonesian chili sauce or paste, typically made from a mixture of chili peppers, vinegar, and salt.

Some recipes add fish sauce or shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, lime juice, and scallions or shallots. Some add palm sugar.

“Sambal” is an Indonesian word that designates a hot sauce or paste with a base of chili peppers. “Oelek” or olek refers to a mortar and pestle, with which the spices are ground.

Indonesian cooks will make their own sambal from scratch, but you can buy a jar such as the sambal oelek from Huy Fong Foods (the same California company that makes the popular “rooster” sriracha sauce ).

Here’s a recipe to make your own (photo #3).

You can use it to add heat to any food, including dips, dressings, grains, noodles, proteins, sauces, soups, and stews.

Here’s more about sambal olek.

If you don’t want to make it or buy it, check below for substitutions that you may already have.

Rockfish live on the bottom of a body of water, often around rock outcrops—hence the name.

They are sometimes called rock cod or are mislabeled as cod, snapper, or red snapper—three species that are not even in the same family. (The binomial families are Gadidae for cod, Lutjanidae for snapper, and Sebastinae for rockfish.)

Rockfish, depending on the species, vary in shape, size, and color, as you can see in photo #2.

  • Each species has sweet, flaky white flesh.
  • The different species have distinct flavor profiles, but each is delicious. You can try different species to see if you have a favorite.
  • You can also find frozen rockfish.
  • Here’s more about them.
    Rockfish is often chosen by restaurants for fish n’ chips or battered fish tacos.

    Now: How about some food fun?

    A recipe follows.


    You can use a whole white fish like sea bass, or a fillet such as tilapia. If you use a whole fish, the tail end looks like “fish pizza.”

    You can steam, sauté, or bake the fish, depending on your preference.

    If you don’t want a hot, spicy sauce, use a marinara sauce.

    And yes, you can get creative. For example, with marina and pepperoni, you can have surf and turf (with some grated cheese, too).

  • Fish of choice
  • Cooking oil
  • Sambal oelek or other paste or sauce
  • Small cherry tomatoes or pear/grape tomatoes
  • Garnish: fresh herbs of choice (in the photo are basil, cilantro, and dill)

    1. TO STEAM: Steam according to your normal preparation, depending on what equipment you have. You can grill or sauté if you prefer. To bake…

    2. TO BAKE: Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pat the fish dry with an absorbent paper towel. Rub the body of the fish with about 1 tsp of cooking oil on both sides. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

    3. PLACE the baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through (the flesh will flake easily when ready). While the fish is cooking…

    4. WARM the sambal and tomatoes. The tomatoes should soften and burst.

    5. PLACE the cooked fish on plates (or if a whole fish, on a serving platter) and pour the sambal sauce over it. Garnish and serve immediately with the sides of your choice (rice or other grains are good with this recipe).

    You can substitute any chili paste, but here are some guidelines.

    Gochugang paste has a similar texture but a slightly different flavor: It is fermented and sweet, with a deeper flavor (but still hot). Here’s more about it.

    Harissa is a paste, slightly thicker and less spicy than sambal oelek. It also has different spices, including cumin. Here’s more about it.

    Sriracha has a similar bright red color and a similar amount of heat, but is thinner. Here’s more about it.



    Please follow and like us:
    Pin Share

    Comments are closed.

    The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures
    Follow by Email

    © Copyright 2005-2024 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.