Garlic-Lemon Mackerel (Saba Fish)

March 27- Garlic lemon saba fish airfried

I can almost taste the fish right now.

You know when they say you could taste the freshness of the sea? I know exactly what that means when I take a bite of this Saba Fish.

The firm but moist mackerel flesh seems to disintegrate when it touches your tongue, the flavour of the fish melting into your whole mouth.

The strong garlic flavour contrasts with the hint of lemon.. and the fresh chilli gives it just the subtle kick that it needs. Don’t use chilli padi for this. You don’t want the heat to overtake the flavour of the fish.

March 27- Garlic lemon grilled saba

I’ve been whipping up quick and easy versions of Saba Fish in my Philips Airfryer, ever since we discovered no-frills filleted portions of it from Song Fish. The fish is sold in a packet of seven, and are individually wrapped for convenience and hygiene. Everytime I need to fix a quick dinner, I defrost a portion, clean it, pat it dry, season it lightly, and into the airfryer it goes. Eight minutes later, I get this wonderful, wonderful dish that never fails me.

March 27- Garlic lemon saba fish

March 27- Garlic lemon mackerel

I’ve tried out Saba with home made teriyaki sauce.. or with a bit of mirin and sake.. or just lightly salted and plain. I love them all ways. Today I tried it with olive oil, garlic, lemon and some fresh red chillies. I don’t regret it one bit!

Garlic Lemon Saba Fish
Serves: 1
Total cost per serving: $1.86

What I used:
1 portion saba fish (I get mine frozen from Song Fish)
Fresh red chilli, deseeded and chopped
A squeeze of lemon juice
A tablespoon minced garlic
A tablespoon of olive oil
A very light sprinkle of salt

1. Clean your saba fillet and pat dry. Lay it on top of a piece of aluminium foil, flesh facing up. No need to wrap!
2. Lightly sprinkle with salt and squeeze the lemon juice over.
3. Top with minced garlic + chilli, and drizzle with olive oil, deliberately coating the garlic with oil.
4. Airfry at 180 degrees for eight minutes.

How much I spent:
$1.86 for saba fillet
Everything else from my pantry

March 27- Garlic lemon grilled saba

There is no other dish that can be easier than this. I cooked this in the airfryer lined with aluminium foil, and after eight minutes, I transferred the perfectly cooked fish to a serving plate and threw the foil away. No splattering oil, no grief, no mopping the floor afterwards. This is one of my favourite ways to cook Saba. If you have a favourite recipe, please leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!


  1. lily

    Hi! I was thinking of making a teriyaki or salted version cos hubby doesn’t take chilli. Should I just air fry with salt and then prepare teriyaki sauce and drizzle over after its cooked?

  2. Chrissy-

    Hi Lily, I am SO SORRY I missed this comment! I hope you made that saba fish! :) If making a teriyaki version, I always just drizzle teriyaki sauce over and airfry together. I have a teriyaki saba recipe right here:

    How did your saba fish turn out? I’m sure it was delicious!

  3. Nina Murphy

    Hi Chris I came across your blog by accident. I have only just purchased the Philips Extra Large Airfryer – a couple of questions have you cooked the fish in the standard version which is a lower wattage output that the extra large and also did you line the basket with foil or remove the basket and put the foil in the bottom? Sorry for basic questions I am still learning about this piece of kitchen equipment. Many Thanks NM ps I need to find an equivalent fish to cook here in UK maybe whole lemon sole would work.


    Hi Nina,

    I always use the standard/ smaller version of the Airfryer. I line the mesh basket with foil to prevent food bits from sticking to the basket. Be sure to leave some space around for air circulation. Alternatively you may line with baking paper or use the grill pan.

    I also line the bottom- the part below the mesh basket- with foil to catch any oil drippings. Sole fish sounds lovely and also all fish fillets will work nicely. Hope I answered your questions. Thanks for coming by! -Chrissy

  5. benjamin pereira

    where can we buy saba fresh fish in singapore?

  6. theclover

    Are we able to bake this instead?


      Sure, but you’ll need a longer cooking time. I would try 10 minutes for a start!

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