Asam Pedas/Asam Fish

Asam pedas is one dish synonymous with Malacca as well as Johor in Malaysia and it is so popular that it’s said “a trip to Melaka or Johor is incomplete without savouring it”.
Asam pedas literally means hot/spicy and sour and is basically a dish of fish or beef in light gravy.
The common ingredients are dried chillies, shallots, garlic, belacan (prawn paste), , daun kesum (Vietnamese mint), bunga kantan (torch ginger flower), and tamarind juice, Some also uses ginger, galangal, fresh turmeric, lemon grass and asam gelugor (Garcinia atroviridis) in their dishes.
To make asam pedas, the shallots and garlic are ground together, the bunga kantan quartered and the dried chillies and shrimp paste grounded together. The blended ingredients are sautéed in a pot until the paste becomes aromatic. Finally the adding of tamarind juice gives the sourish taste to the dish.
The fishes that one can use to make this dish are spanish mackeral,stingray or catfish.
The use of Vietnamese coriander, or laksa leaf, which is known in Malay as daun kesum is also widely used to prepare assam pedas. In Malaysian, daun kesum is mainly used as garnishing for example in laksa(which is prepared with fish) or as mentioned assam pedas and assam laksa. The herb has a coriander-like smell with a clear lemony note.

The asam pedas is so famous here that the paste is readily available and sold in most of the supermarkets around Malaysia.

300gm spanish mackeral /tenggiri
15gm shallots
20gm dried chillies(soak in water to soften)
3 garlic
1 lemon grass-crushed
½ in fresh turmeric(optional)
20gm shrimp paste
10gm daun kesum/vietnamese coriander
I bunga kantan /torch ginger
2 tomatoes (quartered)
20gm ladies fingers
20gm eggplant
50ml tamarind juice
Salt to taste

Grind shallots and garlic together.Keep aside.Grind dried chillies and shrimp paste togetehr and keep that aside. Discard the top and bottom part of ladies finger and keep it whole.Cut eggplant into a few segments.

In a wok, heat enough oil to saute the shallots and garlic paste.Once aromatic add in the dried chilli paste .Saute until the chilli is cooked and oil floates slightly at the edges. Add in tamarind juice,tomatoes,ladies finger, eggplant ,torch ginger,vietnamese coriander and salt. Leave to simmer until vegetables are tender. Add in fish finally .Leave for another 5 mins and then dish out.
You can add turmeric powder or fresh turmeric if preffered.

Am contributing this recipe for the event SPOTLIGHT FISH hosted by


  1. Appetising! Feel like having that with a bowl of rice right now.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing such an authentic recipe for my curry look yummy & tangy....

  3. this looks awesome and simple enough to make. hubby just caught an ikan sembilang so should try it out. thanks!

  4. You have a lovely blog... I am ur new follower... Will be glad if you follow me back...


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