Recipe: Assam Pedas Ikan (Spicy Tamarind Fish)

Assam Pedas literally means sour spicy. It is a classic Malay dish which is popular in both Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Traditionally, Assam Pedas calls for ikan tenggiri (Spanish mackerel) or ikan pari (stingray), but I used red snapper fillet instead. It is a very appetising dish as the gravy has the perfect balance of spiciness, sweetness and sourness that goes very well with steamed rice.

Personally, this is a perfect one dish meal as various vegetables such as okra, tomatoes and/or brinjal/eggplants and pineapples may be added to the Assam Pedas.

Making the spices/rempah from scratch was a tedious process but it was worth every minute of my time. The taste of the Assam Pedas still lingers in my mouth as I am penning down this post. Yummy!!

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Serves 4 persons


3 slices of fish fillet (any fish of your choice)

1 big onion, cut into four

10 lady fingers/okra

2 tomatoes, cut into four

1 Bunga Kantan/Torch Ginger Flower, cut into half remove the stalk and slice thinly.

3 sprigs of Daun Kesum (Vietnamese mint)

3 tablespoons tamarind, add 5 tablespoons of warm water and squeeze the juice

Some fresh/canned pineapple, optional

Some cooking oil

3 to 4 cups water



2 to 3 tablespoons brown sugar or to taste

Some salt to taste

Lime juice of 1 lime


Spice Paste/Rempah

14 shallots

5 garlic cloves

2 stalks lemon grass (white part only), finely sliced

1½ inches Lengkuas/Galangal, cut into small pieces

2 inches kunyit/fresh turmeric, cut into small pieces

7 fresh red chillies

10 dried chillies, soak with hot water (depends on how spicy you like)

1½ cm toasted belacan, grind into powder or 2 tablespoons prawn paste



  1. Ground the spices in a blender with a little water.
  2. In a wok or pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add in the ground spice paste and fry until fragrant.
  3. Add bunga kantan, onions, tomatoes, and pineapple. Mix them well with the paste.
  4. Then add in the daun kesom and the tamarind juice. Stir and cook for a short while.
  5. Add in brown sugar, salt, and lime juice then give it a stir.
  6. Add some water and simmer for 2 minutes.
  7. Add in the fish and addition water if necessary. Simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the fish is cooked.
  8. Halfway through the cooking, add in the lady fingers. Cover and simmer.
  9. Adjust the taste accordingly.
  10. Serve hot with steamed rice.



  1. The amount of water you use will depend on the consistency you like.
  2. You may cut the okra into half.
  3. If you want it spicier, add more dry chilli. If you want it less spicy, remove the seeds of the chilli.

Mummy's Kitchen

Hi! My name is Josephine Go. I blog at in a segment called Mummy’s Kitchen. I love to use fresh and natural ingredients in my cooking to promote healthy eating. Some of my recipes may not be in line with the traditional methods of cooking to the extent that some of the ingredients are different, but hopefully new recipes are being created in my style. I certainly hope that what I do will help guide kitchen first-timers on how to cook their first meal as well as further equip kitchen veterans with new recipes. My loving husband and two wonderful children are my best guinea pigs and critics. They have enjoyed (or endured) the food that has been served to them for all these years. Mind you, I did not know how to cook or ever knew that I could cook till I got married. So there is hope for everyone. If I can cook, you can cook. You will not know how good or talented you are until you put your hand in the plough.

2 thoughts on “Recipe: Assam Pedas Ikan (Spicy Tamarind Fish)

  1. Well! Can see you are really good and enjoying cooking. You have taken the first step to do cooking and will become an expert in Nedra future. Keep it up. Cheers

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