Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ikan Goreng Asam (Fried Fish with Tamarind Paste)

The mention of Nyonya food,  spicy, mouth-watering dishes comes to mind. One tend to think about all the spices and chillies  that requires tedious and hours of preparation when it comes to homecooked Nyonya dishes. Well, we do have simple dishes that do not require hours of preparation, and this is one of them. Ikan Goreng Asam (Fried Fish with Tamarind Paste) is an all-time favourite. My beloved late mom used to cook this with the head and skin of mackerel fish, it truly is delicious. She will use the meat of a whole mackerel to make into fish-ball paste, which are then used to cook a pot of Nyonya Fish-Ball Soup with Cabbages and Glass Bean Threads, (I'm drooling just thinking about it!), and the head and skin of the fish are marinated with tamarind paste and salt, fried with a little oil and thus became another dish, that my siblings and myself truly love! Since the skin is really very little actually, we would share among ourselves and usually the youngest gets more! 


You may have heard or even cooked the more famous version that is, Tamarind Prawns, which can be found in most Nyonya Cookbooks. Try it with fish, especially when you can get really fresh mackerel, though other fish can be used, but my mother had always used mackerel (ikan tenggiri) for this dish. Even my kids love this Nyonya fried fish. Tip when frying, do not fry over high heat as the tamarind will burnt and turn black rather easily. When frying the fish, make sure the heat is medium-low and fry just until the fish is cooked and still moist. This way, you would enjoy the taste of the tamarind and the moist sweetness of the fish. You would not want a crispy and dry fish, with burnt tamarind. 


This is the tamarind paste that I used. Sometimes I used the tamarind with seeds. In those days, we do not have seedless tamarind paste like this, my mom used the tamarind with seeds, which are then added with just a little water and mix with the fingers to extract out the tamarind pulp from the seeds for a thick paste or more water for a diluted and thinner tamarind paste.



Sometimes, we would eat this fish with some sambal belacan as a condiment, but the kids love it as it is, eaten with rice. And if you do not mind this, drizzle some of the oil retained from frying the fish, over the hot fluffy rice, and eat with a piece of the fish, truly delicious. This is really a simple and very easy dish. I hope that you would give it a try, as I am sure that your kids would love this!





I'm submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest, Melaka (August) hosted by Yummylittlecooks and organized by Wendy of Table For 2.....Or More.


I'm sharing this too with :

Ikan Goreng Asam (Fried Fish with Tamarind Paste)
2 pieces mackerel (red snapper, threadfin or other fish)
1/2 tsp tamarind paste, or to taste (1 tsp if used tamarind with seeds)
salt to taste
oil for frying
  1. Rub tamarind paste all over fish, with some salt to taste. (If using tamarind seeds, add about half to one teaspoon of water and use fingers to rub the seeds and extract out the pulp).  Keep aside for 15-20 minutes. 
  2. Heat oil in wok or non-stick saucepan. Over medium-low heat, fry fish on both sides until cooked, about 4-5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fish, but not crispy. Fish should be moist inside.  
  3. Dish out to a serving plate and drizzle some of the oil from the wok over the fish. Serve hot. Enjoy!


23 comments:

  1. Wow, I would love to have this for lunch. When I saw the title of your post, my mouth was already watering. Now when I see the pictures, I am so hungry though its only 10.30am! I shall try this tamarind fish since I enjoyed the prawns version.

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  2. Wow ... am drooling. Yes, the tedious work involved in cooking a dish usually puts me off. This sound easy.... book-marking it. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. My mouth is watering now he he... Thanks for this simple recipe. Love it! I fry fish fillet with all sorts of condiments but never tried using asam paste before. Usually I will just use curry powder, ground turmeric or sweet paprika ;-)

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  4. What a relief, a simple recipe. Hah! Hah! I am so used to the usual peeling and pounding (actually use blender lah) that your fish recipe is a nice change. Oh yes, the oil from frying is very flavorful and my brothers and I used to fight for the oil to mix with our rice.

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  5. Your assam fish is so appetizing! I'm not good in storming in my kitchen, but I'm very good in persuading my mother to cook assam prawns. Will go home tonight and show my persuasive skill, nyek nyek~ And maybe I'll get to eat both fish and prawns, tamarind style!

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  6. That simple offering really makes my mouth waters ! Another temptingly yummy dish , Joyce !

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  7. Very different way of fish preparation...looks tempting...

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  8. Usually I drizzle with lime juices with deep fried mackerel , your way of tamarind fish also sound yummy..

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  9. When I was small my mum used to prepare prawn with asam jawa. 1st time seeing asam fried fish. I can imaging how nice the taste will be. Great!

    Besides my mum used to serve us with the oil together with fried fish. You bring back some of my childhood memory. Sweet ^^

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  10. Joyce, extra sour tamarind, interesting! I love eating all kinds of fish that are pan-fried but never try asam fish before. Keep this in my mind!

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  11. hello nyonya lady, gua lai ciak ikan goreng asam.. ciak pah, gua ki try masak! err, i'm speaking nyonya plus hokkien plus malay, can ah?? you and jen making me laugh over your comments the other day..

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    1. Hi friend, eh-sai,eh-sai! nanti bila lu masak, cakap sama gua sama jen, kita sama-sama pegi lu punya rumah. Tapi, masak nasi biar lebih sikit, kita dua, kuat makan! Hahahaha!

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  12. Hi Joyce, my mom use ikan tongkol to cook this. Sedap......

    Peri rumah lena, suruh dia masak ayam tempra, sedap.....kekeke

    Terima kasih for another entry :)

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  13. Gah! I'm so ready to have some fish on this vegan cleanse! This looks so good!

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  14. Mouth watering dish! I love Nyonya cooking & never tried this before. This will go great nasi & make it double! My appetite is BACK! LOL

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  15. I never tried tamarind paste...and from your description must taste delicious...I sure would love to get a hold of this paste.
    Thanks for this simple recipe and hope you are having a wonderful week Joyce :)

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  16. that paste sounds wonderful and with such a unique and distinct flavor to add to the fish! I am loving this

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  17. Sounds delicious, maybe I'll cook it next time I see nice fresh mackerel in the market:D Thanks for sharing, now drooling and imagining myself eating this instead of instant noodles in the office:P

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  18. Waaaaah, ikan gorengnya looks so yum! Di Indonesia ada beberapa cara menggoreng ikan. Ada yang menggunakan bumbu, ada yang hanya diberi perasan jeruk nipis dan garam, dan ada yang menggunakan asam dan garam seperti di atas. My favorit adalah yang terakhir. Walaupun warnanya agak gelap karena pengaruh asam, tapi rasanya sangat sedap. Kulit luarnya garing tapi isiannya tetap lembut...

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  19. Wow I love the flavor of tamarind and I've actually been looking for this recipe! Looks great, we'll sure give it a try.

    Have a nice week! :)

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  20. This would be great with some congee!

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  21. Fish with Tamarind paste... even the name of this dish can make me drool :P

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