Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cooking: Assam Pedas Fish

Thanks to Rasa Malaysia, I've been inspired to cook something new! Actually, I've made a couple dishes now. This one and her Lemongrass Chicken which I'll post after this. I apologize in advance. The pictures are crappy because I used Justyn's camera phone.

It was a miserable rainy and cold day on Friday so I needed something spicy and stew like. This would be the perfect thing to get me through the weather. We ended up going to Lyon Supermarket on Capital Expwy. to get all the ingrediants since they would most likely have everything we needed. Unfortunately, I ran across a couple road blocks with the tamarind pulp, palm sugar & fish curry powder. Instead, I actually found some tamarind pods. I thought to myself, you can't go wrong here because what better than to have the real thing right? I also had a hard time finding palm sugar so I figured I couuld just substitute regular sugar with that. One other thing I couldn't find was fish curry powder. The recipe says I can use tumeric, but I bought some other curry mix in hopes that it would all work out. However, I was pleased to find that the supermarket had Pomfret. I had done some research to see what other fish I could substitute with (Pompano or Tilapia). Come to think of it, I should have gone with the Tilapia since they had live ones. Ah well, next time.

When I got home, the first thing I did was make the spice paste which consisted of lemongrass (white part only), shallots, garlic, chilies (I used some pickled thai bird chilies I had in the fridge), and belacan (shrimp paste). I needed Justyn's help to pound all of that because my arms are totally weaksauce. It's nice having a man around even if they're somewhat slobby hehe..

Next, I cut the okra in half lengthwise and tomatoes smaller than what the directions said. Hey, I was hungry OK?

I got all of the other ingrediants ready by the stove so I wouldn't stress out.

First I sauteed the spice paste. Woo! This stuff is really pungent. My house immediately smelled like an Asian kitchen. Justyn plugged his nose in disgust. Whatever! Sometimes the smelliest stuff tastes the best right? I added the curry powder next.

I added the tamarind water (OK, here's where I may have messed up). The pods are very different from the paste and according to my research, you have to cook the innards of the tamarind pods for a LONG time before you can make it into a paste. Well crap, nobody told me that. So I ended up soaking them in a bunch of hot water which softened them up enough for me to extract the seeds. I tasted to water to see if it was strong enough and it really wasn't. It tasted like slightly sweetened water. *sigh*....

Anyway, when the mixture came up to a nice simmer and thickened a bit, I added the okra and tomatoes.

I let all the ingrediants meet and greet each other before adding the fish. I covered the dutch oven and let it go for about 6 minutes until the fish was done. I actually had to flip the fish over once to make sure it was cooking in the sauce on both sides.

That's it! I served it with rice and garnished with some chopped up mint and cilantro.

Justyn thought the fish was cooked perfectly, but didn't think the sauce went well with it. I think it had largely to do with the fact that I didn't have tamarind pulp on hand. I also skipped out on adding the sugar because I thought the mixture was sweet enough. On the other hand, the okra was really really good. I guess that's a vegetable that's meant to be stewed like that. They melded well with the spice paste. I thought it was a decent dinner so I asked Justyn if he would ever want me to make it again. He said NO!!! :( Well, RM, I'll be making it again whether he likes it or not. This time, I'm gonna make sure I have all the right ingrediants. Thanks for the recipe!


tigerfish said...

Your Assam Pedas Fish appears a bit greenish...why? I made RM's Assam Prawns before...using almost the same spice paste..and Tamarind Pulp. I think it will work for fish too. You were referring to Lion Supermarket? You can get the Tamarind Pulp near the spices/curry powder/paste/mixes section, I think. The Tamarind Pulp might be at the lowest shelf.

Good luck! I loveeee Assam Fish and Prawns. Oh ye, stick to Pomfret or Pompano. They are typically used in Assam fish dishes. :P

JadedOne said...

It's probably the camera phone I used. It always turns my food either yellow or green heh. Plus the tamarind water I used was more yellow than deep red.

Oh, I guess I spelled it wrong. It is Lion Supermarket. Do you know the name of the pulp you have? Thanks for the tips!

tigerfish said...

I did not buy any from Lion before though I've seen it. But I can't remember the brand :O