Asam Pedas Fish

June 3, 2022


It’s one of the most popular Malaysian dishes since it’s spicy, tangy, and delicious.

Assam Pedas, or “sour and spicy,” is a Malaysian delicacy. There are several variations on this beloved meal, but it suffice to say that it is sour, scorching hot, and incredibly pleasing to everyone’s taste buds.

Last weekend, when I prepared my sambal for my nasi lemak dish, I made sure to make enough extra paste for my Assam Pedas dish. It is typical for the Assam Pedas to be made using Spanish mackerel (Ikan Tenggiri), but I used pomfret because it was easier to find. (In the United States, even in California, it’s nearly impossible to find Malaysian-style fish.) In the absence of Assam Pedas, I often make pomfret instead.

As with nasi lemak, if you’ve never had Assam Pedas, it’s impossible to put into words how delicious it is. Please accept my sincere apologies if my photos and recipe are inadequate.

Each serving of this recipe has only 213 calories.


  • 1 200 g-400 g of pomfret
  • 10 small okras
  • 2 sprigs of daun kesum or Vietnamese mint
  • 5 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • 1 tomato, chopped into wedges
  • 1 teaspoon of fish curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon of palm sugar/sugar
  • Salt


  • 4 shallots
  • 8-10 dried chillies
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, only use the white part
  • 1/2 tablespoon of belacan or prawn paste


  • 1 1/4 cup of water
  • Tamarind pulp


  1. The paste can be ground in a food processor or mortar and pestle. Set aside for later.
  2. Allow the tamarind pulp to soak for 15 minutes in warm water. Extract the flavor from the tamarind pulp by continually squeezing it. Tamarind juice can be saved by removing the pulp.
  3. Fry the spice paste for two minutes, until it is fragrant, in hot oil.
  4. Toss in the fish curry powder and tamarind juice and bring to a boil.
  5. Remove and stir in the daun kesom before serving.
  6. Toss in the fish, salt, and palm sugar/sugar, and serve
  7. Cook the fish for 5 minutes in a low-temperature broth.
  8. Serve warm.
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