Soy Limang Fish (Lime and Soy Sauce Fish)

Soy Limang Fish is a dish of sweet, salty, sour flavours; and hot, if you want it to be. Simply perfect with a plate of steaming white rice and a side of vegetables.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

soy limang fish (Eurasian fish) with soy sauce in pale bowl with lots of onions and red chillies
Soy Limang Fish

What is Soy Limang Fish?

You may recall that I’ve done a similar dish with eggplants in the past. That was Soy Limang Terung, which was eggplants cooked the same way. So just to remind you, in the Portuguese Eurasian patois (Kristang):

  • soy = the soy sauce
  • limang = the lime juice
  • ikan = fish, in Malay (see below)

So Soy Limang Fish is fish cooked in a base of soy sauce and lime juice. It is also very commonly called Soy Limang Ikan, especially amongst the older generation.

Click here to read up more about the Eurasians and their origin in Singapore and Malaysia on our main recipes page. You’ll also find more information on the different ethnicities that make up the local population.

The Recipe

It’s a pretty quick and easy recipe. This is what we’ll be doing:

  1. Mix up the sauce ingredients
  2. Chop up all the aromatics.
  3. Fry the fish.
  4. Fry the aromatics.
  5. Add the sauce and simmer for a few minutes.
  6. Add the fish and cook for 5 minutes or so.

That’s it. It’s so easy and quick.

I also give you an optional step (not in video) of marinating the fish in a little chilli paste which is just pounded chillies or use sambal oelek. This can be shop bought, or this 3-ingredient homemade sambal oelek on LinsFood. If you’re in Singapore or Malaysia, cili boh is also perfect for this purpose.

Marinating the fish in chilli paste first will give you a much hotter dish, which I just love but may not be for everyone.

Homemade Sambal Oelek


The Fish

Two popular fishes used in South East Asia are the Spanish mackerel (Ikan Tenggiri or Ikan Batang in Malay (ikan = fish) and the Indian threadfin (ikan kurau). These used to be huge favourites of mine, when I was still living in Singapore. They’re often sold as steaks and have a mild, sweet-ish, slightly meaty flavour.

Thy’re both in the oily fish category, making them the perfect foil to today’s sour and salty soy limang fish. I’m lucky to be able to get it locally, from the 4 different “ethnic” shops within walking distance.

However, I also regularly use non oily, white fish to cook our various South east Asian fish recipes. This includes sea bass, haddock and swordfish. You can use a whole fish, cleaned and gutted, or fillets, if you prefer. So if you can’t get Spanish mackerel or threadfin, use any white fish you fancy.

The Sauce

The base of soy limang fish is a sauce we make up with:

  • light soy sauce – the generic salty soy sauce used in cooking
  • sweet soy sauce – known as kicap manis in Malay, spelt ketjap manis in Indonesian, this is dark and slightly sweet and should be found next to the light soy sauce in supermarkets.
  • fresh lime juice – crucial to our recipe. Use whatever limes you have access to, whether Persian limes, calamondin or Mexican limes. But not kaffir limes, as the juice leans towards bitter, and we don’t really use it much in cooking.
  • water

Mixing all these things together saves us from adding them individually, but it’s not crucial.

soy limang fish (Eurasian fish) with soy sauce in pale bowl with lots of onions and red chillies
The onions and chillies add body to the sauce

Aromatics and Vegetables

We have the usual onion, garlic, and chillies. No ginger.

How many chillies you use, and the type of chillies, will determine how hot your recipe is. As will marinating the fish in a little chilli paste, as mentioned above.

I’ve kept all other additions to a minimum here, throwing in a handful of cherry tomatoes at the end. This part’s not in the video, as I didn’t realise the camera was off!

Sometimes, I also add some thinly sliced bell peppers (whatever colour). The peppers take on the flavours so well and really enhance the dish.

Vegan Soy Limang

Just very quickly, as 3 of my kids are vegetarian, one having recently become pescatarian. I make this exact recipe with vegan protein pieces. Just standard ones, not necessarily mock fish, image below.

So that’s something you can do, if you need to make it for a vegetarian. Or use tofu which will soak up all that sauce beautifully. Whether using vegan pieces or tofu, fry them lightly in a little oil to crisp up, just like we do the fish here.

with vegan protein pieces

How to Serve Soy Limang Fish

This dish has a full on flavour, and to me, works best with some plain white rice. You won’t appreciate it as much with fried rice. This is often a quick, weekday meal for me, so I don’t need any fancy sides, keeping it simple with some cucumbers and tomatoes.

But if you do fancy vegetable sides, here are some ideas. Let’s get cooking!

Kangkung Belacan (Stir-fried Water Spinach with Shrimp Paste)
Get your kangkung belacan recipe here! It's a quick and easy water spinach stir-fry that is popular in Singapore and Malaysia.
Get this Recipe!
kangkung belcan on a plate
Easy Cabbage Stir-Fry
Cabbage stir-fry is a quick and easy side dish that's perfect with rice but especially great with chapatis!
Get this Recipe!
yellow coloured stir-fried cabbage on a plate

If you enjoy the recipe, drop me a comment and let me know. Feeling like a star? Don’t forget that 5-star rating!😉

If you make this recipe, post it on Instagram and tag me @azlinbloor and hashtag it #linsfood.

Lin xx

soy limang fish (Eurasian fish) with soy sauce in pale bowl with lots of onions and red chillies

Soy Limang Fish (Lime and Soy Sauce Fish)

Azlin Bloor
Soy limang fish is an easy Eurasian recipe with sweet, sour, salty and if you want, spicy flavours. It's perfect with just a plate of rice.
5 from 17 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Eurasian
Servings 4
Calories 162 kcal


  • 4 fish steaks or fillets (or 2 whole fish) you need enough to feed 4, see article above
  • tsp salt plus more, if needed, after cooking
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 red chillies hot or mild, up to you
  • 3 green chillies hot or mild, up to you
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 8 cherry tomatoes or 2 medium tomatoes, quartered
  • 60 ml vegetable oil
Soy Limang Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp light soy sauce kicap masin
  • 1 Tbsp sweet soy sauce kicap manis
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice + 1 more Tbsp, if needed
  • 125 ml water
Optional Chilli Marinade


The Sauce

  • Mix all the sauce ingredients and set aside.

Prep Work

  • Rub the salt all over the fish and set aside.
    If you want a spicier dish, pound the 2 red chillies (optional chilli marinade) with the salt and rub that all over the fish.
    This step is not in the video.
  • Halve, then slice the onion.
    Finely chop the garlic.
    Slice the chillies diagonally.

Let's get Cooking

  • Heat the oil on medium-high heat in a wok of deep frying pan, and fry the fish for 1 minute on each side to brown.
    Take the fish out and place on a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb excess oil.
  • Pour out excess oil (if there's lots still), leaving behind about 2 Tablespoons worth, and reduce the heat to medium.
  • Fry the onion slices for 1 minute to soften, then add the chillies and garlic. Fry for another minute.
  • Pour in the sauce and bring to a simmer. Then reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes to thicken and for the aromatics to soften.
  • Tip the fish back into the wok. Spoon some of the sauce and aromatics over the fish and simmer for 5 minutes on low to cook the fish right through.
    Flip the fish over halfway to thoroughly soak the other side of the fish.
  • After flipping the fish over, add the tomatoes, there's no need to stir them in, they act more as a garnish. They'll have about 2 minutes of cooking time only.
    If you'd like the tomatoes more cooked and softer, you can add them in the previous step, along with the fish. (This step is not in the video, as mentioned in the article, my camera wasn't running!).
    Check seasoning, and add some salt or more lime juice if you fancy it.
    Serve immediately.



Calories: 162kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 3gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 0.5mgSodium: 537mgPotassium: 365mgFiber: 3gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 816IUVitamin C: 115mgCalcium: 26mgIron: 1mg
Keyword fish, ikan, kristang, lime juice, serani, soy sauce
Tried this recipe?Mention @azlinbloor or tag #linsfood!
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2 thoughts on “Soy Limang Fish (Lime and Soy Sauce Fish)”

    1. Hi Nik, thanks for bringing that to my attention. My camera had been left off when I added the tomatoes, which is always annoying when it happens. I’ve edited the recipe card. You’ll see that it’s the last step. I tend to add the tomatoes right at the end and basically leave them pretty much raw. But if you’d like them soft, you can add them in with the fish. Or even when you add the sauce, so they’ll be completely soft.
      Let me know how it goes.

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