Spiced fish stew

Spiced fish stew

Pindang ikan (Java)

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South East Asian Food

This is a Javanese version of Pangé ikan padang. It is the ‘in’ thing nowadays to use large fish heads for dishes like this.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
5 medium-sized garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
4cm piece fresh turmeric, peeled and sliced
5cm piece galangal, peeled and sliced diagonally
2.5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
2 stalks lemongrass, bruised and cut into 5 cm lengths
10 small carambola, cut in two lengthwise
or 2 small tomatoes, each cut into 8 wedges
2 salam leaves
3 cups water
salt, to taste
1 teaspoon sugar, or more to taste
lime juice, to taste
2 medium-sized red chillies, seeded and sliced diagonally
8 tiny whole bird’s eye chillies
2 heads atlantic or threadfin salmon
or 750g fish, cut into steaks

Method

  1. Heat the oil and start frying the shallots and garlic, add the turmeric, galangal, ginger and lemongrass, and stir-fry until everything smells cooked. Add the carambola if you are using it and the salam leaves and stir-fry a little more. Add the water, and tomatoes if you are using them, and simmer a little. Add salt and sugar to taste and lime juice if you need it and boil until the stock is flavoursome.
  2. Add the two kinds of chilli, turn the heat down to low, put in the fish and poach gently until the fish is cooked. Taste and adjust the flavours – the liquor should be sour. Remove the turmeric, galangal, ginger and lemongrass.
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