Assam mean sour and Pedas mean spicy (hot) curry; popularity among Malaysian. Thus in my hometown, Penang when I am growing up. Grandma and the servants loves to cook this Assam Pedas curry for us without fail. Guess Asam Pedas fish is easy to prepare when the ingredients are ready available in the wet market and dry market.
Grandma usually use ikan pari (sting ray) or skate. I can’t get it here and its expensive, so I decided to use rockling fillets instead. You can replace it with any white fishes like rockling, basa or sea bass. Note: many cooks and recipes on google uses different fish. Most Malaysian people will use sting ray, Spanish mackeral, and so too are many cooks and in recipes around the world.
I never cook Assam Pedas and its my first time. I am glad to find Grandma secret ingredients below in Asian grocery stores; which I hardly visit as its not near me. I am sure other cooks and recipes have similar ingredients.
I didn’t use these two ingredients Daun kesum (Vietnamese mint) and Bunga kantan (ginger torch flower). So I use kaffir lime leaves instead. Tamarind play a strong appetising taste to this Assam Pedas fish.
I am happy with my Assam Pedas even though without ikan pari, Daun kesum and Bunga kantan.
Note from Grandma: leave it for a few hours once its done, to absorb the appetising in depth taste. Best to simmer Assam Pedas again before eating to avoid upset stomach and to bring out the rich bold appetising taste from tamarind, spices, rockling and vegetables.
500 g rockling fillets, wash and pat dry
12-14 okras (ladies fingers), wash
6 hard-boiled eggs
4 kaffir lime leaves
2 small carrots, sliced diagonally
2 small tomatoes, wedges
1 onion peeled, halved and sliced
5 Tbs of cooking oil
1-2 Tbs palm sugar
4 shallots, peeled
3 garlic, peeled
2 stalk of lemongrass white part only, bruise slightly, cut into pieces
1 -2 Tbs water to help blend spice
1/2 Tbs belacan (prawn paste )
3 cm galangal, sliced
2 candlenuts, pound slightly
12 dried chilies, depending on how spicy you like
6 fresh red chilies, seeded
50 g tamarind paste
mix with 500 ml hot water, strained to get juice
Blend spice ingredients with 2 tablespoons water until smooth.
Cut rockling into thick slices and season with salt. Set aside for 10-15 minutes. Place tamarind paste in a small metal strainer over a bowl. Pour hot water over it. Stir and press down tamarind paste with a spoon to dissolve.
Heat oil over medium heat to saute blended ingredients for 2-3 minutes. Once the oil separates from blended ingredients, pour tamarind juice into pot. Add salt to taste, stir to combine. Place lid on the pot and allow sauce to come to a boil. Reduce heat and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove the lid. Add carrots, tomato wedges, onions, okras, kaffir lime leaves and bring to boil. Place the lid back on pot. Continue to cook for another 3 minutes or until okra is tender. Add fillets, salt, and palm sugar. Simmer on low heat for 5 minutes or until the fish is cooked. Turn off stove. Leave it for a few hours in pot.
While waiting for it to absorb appetising taste, bring water to boiled to make hard boiled eggs. Then washing up the utensils, dry and keep them back in the cupboard. Wash Chinese broccoli and cut up. Then cut fresh pineapple into bite size, and cucumber, cut into bite size too. Place in fridge until needed.
Once cooked, peeled shell and add in hard boiled eggs and stir to coat the curry. Cook rice. Stir fry Chinese broccoli with garlic. Meantime, simmer curry to warm up again and serve hot with rice, Chinese broccoli, pineapples and cucumbers.