How to Cook Penang Asam Pedas

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Asam Pedas (Sour and Spicy Fish Stew) – a Penang Peranakan (Nyonya) specialty.

Malaysian radio host and celebrated food critic Fay Khoo and I had the opportunity to find out how this dish is prepared in this first in a series of videos from our Fay and Jackie Tour covering the Penang and Kuala Lumpur food scenes.

Chef Siva from Hotel Jen, Penang, showed us the ingredients that go into an authentic Peranakan Asam Pedas and the result was absolutely mouthwatering.

This dish was a revelation to a "southerner" like myself - I had never had it, and to be honest, when I think Fish Curry, I think coconut milk and vegetables like eggplant, ladies' fingers, tomatoes etc; I was told Asam Pedas is technically not a curry, and the Penang Peranakan (ie. Nyonya) influence come through in the sour notes and the use of ingredients like salted vegetables.

Note - the sugar in this dish is meant to be barely there - its purpose is to temper the sourness, not to turn the dish into a sweet and sour thing - thanks to Fay for pointing this out; I wouldn't have known otherwise.
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Asam Pedas (Peranakan Fish Stew) (Serves 2)


Red Snapper fillets (2) 300gm
Garlic 40gm
Shallots 100gm
Chili Padi 30gm
Lemon Grass 120gm
Belimbing Buloh (Sour Fruit) 200gm
Salted vegetables 100gm
Dried chili 50gm
Tamarind paste 50gm
Water 300ml
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste


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