Friday, 25 September 2009

Spicy Assam Fish with a Twist!

Back home in mom's kitchen, I was armed with a notepad and pen. She was surprised but rather pleased that her daughter has finally decided to take-up some serious cooking.

Tonight, the dish would be Spicy Sour Assam Fish. Assam or tamarind in English, is frequently used in Malaysian cooking particularly where dishes have a spicy sour trend to it.

Ingredients were pulled from the fridge and also freshly plucked from our garden - mom grows some local herbs including mint leaves and bird's eye chillies. Once all were laid out, the chopping, blending, pounding and cooking started. And if you are wondering, Yes, I did help!

Mom's recipe has a twist, rather than using assam juice, she uses dried assam and lemon/lime juice. Also, to make it a truly Malaysian assam dish, lots of Daun Kesum leaves (Vietnamese Mint) are used to bring out the aroma and taste.


1 pcs Garoupa or white fish
10 pcs Shallots
6-8 pcs Buah Keras (Candlenuts)
1 clove Garlic
6-8 pcs Red Chillies, chopped
4-5 pcs Bird's Eye Chillies (optional- depends on how spicy you like it)
1 pcs Ginger (2 inch)
1 pcs Turmeric (1 inch)
1 pcs Lemon Grass
4 pcs Dried Assam (Tamarind)
6 pcs Lady's Fingers (Okra)
2-3 pcs Lemons, squeezed
Daum Kesum (Vietnamese Mint)
Mint Leaves
Salt, to taste

1. Chop & blend into paste - Shallots, Buah Keras, Garlic, Red/Bird's Eye Chilles,  Ginger, Turmeric, Lemon Grass.
2. Heat oil and fry paste till fragrant.
3. Add water and bring to boil.
4. Add Dried Assam & Daum Kesum and simmer for about 10 minutes
5. Add Fish and simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
6. Add Lemon juice then Lady's Fingers.
7. Add salt to taste.
8. Serve with mint leaves as garnish.

Bon Appetit!

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