Today Mom made Assam Pedas Ikan, a Malay dish directly translated as “Sour Spicy Fish”. Every respectable Malay kitchen would have their own version of assam pedas. My mom’s version has the perfect balance of spicy and sour. Daun kesom is an essential ingredient for my mom’s assam pedas.
Daun Kesom, or Vietnamese Coriander, has a coriander-like smell with a clear lemony note. Although it is closely related to water pepper there is hardly any pungency present. In Singapore and Malaysia, the shredded leaf is an essential garnish for laksa, and so, the herb is also commonly referred to in Malay as daun laksa (aksa leaf). More information on this herb here and here.
Assam Pedas Ikan
- Sour Spicy Fish
Fish head or fish steaks (e.g. Red Snapper)
2 heaped tspn of powdered tumeric
4 slices of tamarid pieces
2 medium red onion, peeled and chopped into 6-8 wedges
young eggplant (cut into small wedges)
3-4 stalks of daun kesom
4 clove garlic
30 dried chillies (yes, that is not a typo)
1 tbspn of belacan (prawn paste)
1-2 cm of fresh ginger root
2 heaped tbspn of tamarind pulp
1-1.5 cups of hot water
Prepare chilli paste – You will notice that this paste is similar to the one used for sambal prawns, but with the addition of ginger. Roughly cut dried chillies with a kitchen scissors and pour enough hot water to cover the chillies. Leave for 10 mins and drain. Blend the chillies finely with 1 cup of fresh water, and all other ingredients.
Prepare tamarind juice - Soak pulp in hot water, squeeze out the juice and strain.
Now you are ready to cook the dish:
In a large saucepan, heat some oil and over medium heat, stir fry the onion wedges till fragrant. Add the chilli paste and stir fry till fragrant (about 20 minutes). Add tamarid juice, tamarid pieces and tumeric. Add fish and enough hot water to almost cover the fish. When the fish is almost cooked, add the okra, eggplants, daun kesom and salt (to taste). Serve hot with steamed jasmin rice.
This will be my contribution to the first Weekend Herb Blogging for 2008. WHB is a food blogging event sponsored by Kalyn's Kitchen where each week food bloggers around the world photograph and write about herbs, plants, veggies, or flowers, and on the weekend, a Recap with links to all the posts is published by the host for that week. This week’s host (WHB #114) is the founder of WHB, Kaylyn. Do drop by her blog to check out the Recap.