Asam Pedas Recipe: How to Make Nyonya Style Asam Pedas


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Asam Pedas, known as Spicy Tamarind Fish, is a classic Malaysian dish most popular in Malacca. However, it is found in Chinese, Indian and Malay cultures alike, with varied recipes of this tangy and spicy curry. It is traditionally prepared with ikan tenggiri (Spanish mackerel), ikan pari (stingray) or ikan keli (catfish) and served with white rice. 

This Nyonya-style fish stew packs a punch and makes for a hearty home-cooked meal. Next time you’re having a family gathering, feel free to follow this simple recipe for Asam Pedas!


Asam Pedas Recipe

Recipe by Sunny


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Cooking time


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  • 400g fish of your choice

  • 2 lemongrass stalks

  • 6 okras (ladies’ fingers)

  • 2 medium tomatoes

  • 25g dried chillies

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1 medium onion

  • 1 tbsp dried shrimp

  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

  • 2-3 leaves daun kesum (Vietnamese coriander)

  • 1 lime

  • 2-3 tbsp Asam Jawa (Tamarind paste)

  • 4 tbsp cooking oil

  • 4 cups of water

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp sugar


  • Mix the Asam Jawa with some water to extract its flavour. Set aside.
  • Rinse and drain the dried chillies.
  • Combine the chopped garlic, onion and lemongrass, dried shrimp, dried chillies and turmeric powder in a blender. Add some water and blend the ingredients until it forms a paste, stirring in between the processing.
  • Preheat a pot with cooking oil and add in the paste.
  • Continue stirring and allow it to cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the oil begins to appear, and the paste becomes fragrant.
  • Add in the fish of your choice, along with 4 cups of water. Toss in the other ingredients of okra, tomatoes and daun kesum. Let it simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes, or until the fish is cooked.
  • Add salt to taste, sugar, lime juice and the juice from the Asam Jawa paste. Stir gently.
  • Turn off the heat and allow it to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

    Some tips: 

    • It is recommended to use stingray for this dish, as it soaks up the curry nicely. 
    • You can also swap out the stingray for white fishes such as red snapper or sea bass. 
    • If you prefer a thicker gravy, try adding less water while cooking. 

    Don’t forget about the rice! Serve Asam Pedas with a side of steamed rice, along with other dishes of your choosing like vegetables or eggs. Your different cultured friends are sure to be satisfied with this tasty dish! 

    For more Malaysian recipes, be sure to check out Lokataste


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