Hot sour fish

Hot sour fish

Ikan asam pedas

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South East Asian Food

This is a Malay version of the sour fish soup/stew found all over mainland South East Asia, sometimes rather misleadingly called ‘Gulai Tumis’. Compare it with the Sumatran Pangé ikan padang, the Thai or Lao Kaeng som or the southern Thai Kaeng luang, the Vietnamese Canh chua cá and Cambodian Samlaa m’chou moan. The dish is also a popular one in Nyonya cooking.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
a few okra, cut into 5 cm lengths
or snakebeans or stringless green beans
2 pieces dried tamarind
or 1/2 cup tamarind water, or to taste
2-3 cups water
salt
500g fine-fleshed poaching fish, cut into cutlets about 4 cm thick
or small whole fish, cleaned

Paste spices

Quantity Ingredient
12 dried chillies, soaked in warm water until soft, then squeezed dry
2 stalks lemongrass, finely sliced
4cm galangal, chopped
2.5cm piece fresh turmeric, chopped
or 1/3 teaspoon turmeric powder
2.5 x 2.5cm slice shrimp paste
3 garlic cloves
10 shallots, sliced

Method

  1. First make the spice paste. In a mortar or a food processor attachment pound and mash the chillies finely, and then add the lemongrass and pound to a fine paste. One by one add the other spices in the order in which they appear, pounding everything to a fine paste in between.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok or a saucepan and fry the spice paste until it is fragrant and no longer sticks to the pan. Add the okra or beans and stir-fry for a few minutes until well mixed and coated. Pour in the tamarind water, if you are using it, and stir everything together until it is well mixed. Add the water, salt to taste and dried tamarind slices if that is what you are using, bring to the boil and turn down the heat. Simmer until the vegetable is half cooked. Finally, put in the fish and cook gently until done.
Tags:
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