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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How to Make Ikan Assam Pedas (Spicy and Sour Tamarind-Flavored Fish) | Easy Asian Cooking

Ikan Assam Pedas(Spicy and Sour Tamarind-Flavored Fish)Yesterday I made this Nyonya dish as a weekday night dinner. Once I sank my teeth into this bowl of ikan assam pedas, I was mesmerised and overwhelmed. Yeah, for those who adore Penang asam laksa (sour fish-based soup with noodles), you will definitely head over heels in love with this. Tastewise, both bears a strong resemblance, which flavor is predominantly perked up by ginger flower and polygonum. My hubby is not much of tamarind-soured soup addict, so he can't vouch for its taste. Well, it's up to you if you are going to believe my verdict or not.

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!

Ingredients :
Ingredients for Ikan Assam Pedas (Spicy and Sour Tamarind-Flavored Fish)
4 Chubb mackerel or Indian Mackerel (ikan kembong)
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)
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) :
6 shallots
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

Method :

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.

Ikan Assam Pedas(Spicy and Sour Tamarind-Flavored Fish)

5. Now pour in 3 rice bowls of water into a stockpot. Add in all the blended mixture (or pounded paste), tamarind pieces, polygonum and phaeomaria, stir well with a ladle. Bring to boil for a few minutes until the soup is fragrant.

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.

More on  Healthy Easy Food Recipes 


  1. I love Nonya foods. The Penang nonya food is quite different from what I am used to i.e. folks like us from Singapore. Though I am not a peranakan, I enjoy cooking and entertaining my friends with this unique tastes of the nonya foods.
    I am glad to have found this site. Thank you.

  2. great recipe ;) btw,is this looks like the Penang version ;)



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