Ikan assam pedas (literally translated as spicy and sour tamarind-flavored fish) is one of the epitome of Malaysian fare. While the saltwater fish (Chubb mackerel, Spanish mackerel, Threadfin or Stingray are commonly used) is the centerpiece of this dish, others secret ingredient are polygonum (daun kesum 加沙叶), ginger flower (bunga kantan 加沙花), lemongrass (香茅), red chillies, shallots and fresh turmeric (黄姜). To make the soup more tangy and savory, shrimp paste (belachan) and tamarind skins (assam gelugor 阿叁皮) are added.
Now here's the how-to recipe for ikan assam pedas (spicy and sour tamarind-flavored fish). Suffice it to say, it's such a appetite-whetting dish that leave you asking for more. Enjoy!
or Spanish mackerel (ikan tenggiri)
or Threadfin (ikan senangin)
or Stingray (ikan pari)
2 pcs tamarind skins (assam gelugor or assam keping 阿叁皮)
4 stalks polygonum (a.k.a Vietnamese coriander, daun kesum in Malay or known locally as laksa leaves 加沙叶)
1 phaeomaria (a.k.a ginger flower or bunga kantan in Malay 加沙花)
3 rice bowls of water
1 tsp salt (to taste)
1 tsp sugar (to taste)
Soup base ingredients, to be blended (or pounded) :
2.5cm fresh turmeric (kunyit 黄姜), skinned
1 stalk lemongrass (serai 香茅), sliced finely
5 fresh red chilli peppers (fresh cayenne peppers) 红辣椒
3cm shrimp paste (belachan) 峇拉煎
1. Clean fish and discard gills and intestines, set aside.
2. Wash polygonum (daun kesum or laksa leaves), discard stalks, set aside.
3. Cut phaeomaria (ginger flower or bunga kantan) into quarter (lengthwise), set aside.
4. Using a blender or food processor, blend all the soup base ingredients until fine. Alternatively, you can use pestle and mortar to pound them into a fine paste.
6. Add sugar and salt to taste. Stir well. Then add fish into the soup. When the soup reaches rolling boil again, reduce to low heat and simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve hot. This hot and sour fish soup goes well with steamed white rice.
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