Asam Pedas “sour spicy,” Fish is a classic Malay dish cooked in tamarind (asam) fruit juice. Asam Pedas is popular in Singapore and Malaysia and everyone has their own interpretation for this favorite dish. Various vegetables such as brinjals (Indian eggplants), okra and tomatoes are added to the Asam Pedas.
Fish (such as pomfret, sting-ray, mackerel or red snapper) or fish heads are also added to make a spicy and tart fish stew. Daun kesom or daun laksa (laksa leaf) is mainly used in this dish which has a coriander-like smell with a clear lemony note .
It is important that the Asam Pedas fish remain intact for serving so generally the fish is added last.
Recipe for Assam Pedas
Assam Pedas Ingredients:
- ½ Kg to 1 Kg of Stingray/Pomfret/Mackerel/Red snapper (Soaked the fish and wash it with 1tbsp tamarind pulp and dash of salt, water to kill the fishy smell)
- 10 small lady’s fingers halves
- 1 tomato (cut into wedges)
- 1 tsp of of fish curry powder
- ½ tbsp black pepper
- 2 cups of water.
- 2 sprigs of daun kesum, washed (discard the hard stems)
- 1 lemon grass (crushed)
- 1 tbsp of tamarind (put into a cup of warm water an squeeze the juice)
- 5 tbsp of cooking oil (not olive oil)
- 1 tbsp of white sugar
- Salt to taste
Assam Pedas Paste:
- 2 clove garlic
- 1 stalk of lemon grass (white part only)
- ½ inc tumeric
- 4 shallots
- 8-10 dried chillies (soak with hot water for about 30 minutes and drain)
- ½ tbsp of belacan (prawn paste)
In a mortar, pound the paste or grind them in a food processor. Set aside.
Preparation for Assam Pedas:
- Heat oil and fry the blended paste with lemon grass until fragrant.
- Add in black pepper and daun kesum and stirr for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Add the fish curry powder, tamarind juice and two cups of water and bring to boil.
- Add the tomato wedges, lady’s fingers and bring to boil.
- Add the fish, salt, and palm sugar/sugar.
- Simmer on low heat for 3-5 minutes or until the fish is cooked.
- Serve Asam Pedas hot with steamed rice or bread. Happy trying!