Have ikan pari, cook asam pedas!
We’ve been craving for ikan pari asam pedas (fish in spicy tamarind sauce) for the longest time, so we’re really happy to to get hold of ikan pari (stingray) from Fish For It.
Tangy and spicy
Believed to have originated from Melaka, asam pedas is such a tantalising dish. In our mind, a good asam pedas should be equally spicy and tangy, with sweetness from Gula Melaka and other veggies. After all, asam pedas literally means “sour, spicy” in Malay.
The gravy is also savoury thanks to blend of chillies, spices and belacan (shrimp paste).
Best fishes for asam pedas
Asam pedas can be cooked using different types of fishes like ikan tenggiri (mackerel) and jenahak (golden snapper), but ikan pari (stingray) is our favourite! The dark, dense and bouncy meat just works very well with the tangy-spicy gravy. Having a few tiny bones is a bonus hehe.
Aromatic daun kesum and kerisik
Traditional recipes do not call for it, but we added kerisik (toasted coconut paste) to our dish. This actually helps to thicken the sauce and provide some sweet coconut notes to the dish. A final touch of daun kesum (Vietnamese coriander leaves) is essential for that tangy aroma.
While you are able to purchase ready-made asam pedas paste from the grocers, nothing beats freshly made paste. The belacan also adds aroma to the dish.
Our family enjoyed this dish so much! The gravy really whets the appetite and should be eaten with lots of rice. It is also a complete meal with the addition of okras and eggplant for fiber.
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Key steps in pictures
Ikan Pari Asam Pedas (Spicy Tamarind Stingray) RECIPECourse: Lunch, DinnerCuisine: Malay, PeranakanDifficulty: Easy
Here’s our take on the popular ikan pari asam pedas dish.
650g stingray, cut into 8 pieces
1 brinjal, cut bite-sized
8 okras, cut bite-sized
1 tomato, cut into wedges
1 lemongrass, flattened
1 tbsp kerisik
1 tbsp tamarind puree
2 cups of water
2 tsp gula Melaka
salt to taste
a bunch of daun kesum (Vietnamese coriander leaves)
- Blended ingredients
12 dried chillies, soaked and seeds removed
2 fresh red chillies, cut and seeds removed
8 shallots, peeled
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 tsp belacan
1-inch fresh turmeric, peeled
1-inch ginger, peeled
1 cup water
- Use a food processor and blend all the “blended ingredients” listed above. Add a cup of water to aid the process. Set aside.
- Heat up cooking oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the blended ingredients. The oil should be enough to submerge the wet blended ingredients. Cook for about 3 minutes.
- Add lemongrass and kerisik. Fry for about 8-10 minutes until the paste dries up and colour darkens.
- Add the brinjal, tamarind puree, gula Melaka and 2-3 cups of water. Mix well and let it simmer for about 4 minutes. You may do a taste test (the paste should be sweet, sour and savoury) and adjust accordingly.
- Toss the stingray pieces into the wok, and add water if needed (the stingray should be partially submerged). Cover with lid and cook for 5 minutes.
- Open the lid and add daun kesum, okras and tomato wedges. Again, add water if needed. Add salt to taste.
- Allow the gravy to simmer until okras are cooked. Serve.