How to Make Lawar Ikan Merah etc. – Travel Diary Kelantan – Part 2

Recipes for Pindang Tapai, Ikan Masak Lemak Belimbing Buluh, Lawar Ikan Merah

I checked into my room after my late lunch of nasi campur, and because I’d arrived a couple of hours ahead of the rest of the media group, I had time to take baby Noah for a quick dip in the hotel pool.

#babyNoah loving every second of his time at the pool

#babyNoah loving every second of his time at the pool

I was still full from my last meal when it was time for an early dinner and the start of our official itinerary. This was going to be the story of the rest of my Kelantan trip – feeling perennially full and yet constantly being invited to try more great local food (yes I know, first world problem etc.).

Dinner was a selection of traditional Kelantan dishes, including the delicious fish curry with sour fruit on the bottom left of my plate

Dinner was a selection of traditional Kelantan dishes, including the delicious fish curry with sour fruit on the bottom left of my plate

Then it was time for the Grand Riverview Hotel’s culinary team to showcase 3 dishes – Pindang Tapai (a fermented cassava dessert), Ikan Masak Lemak Belimbing Buluh (the fish in sour coconut sauce we had for dinner), and Lawar Ikan Merah (red fish ceviche).

The following recipes are courtesy of Grand Riverview Hotel, Kota Bharu.

How to Cook Pindang Tapai (Fermented Cassava Dessert)

Tapai is a fermented cassava that is popular in Kelantan and I remember my Kelantanese associates in Kuala Lumpur including my executive producer Zafran raving about it in the past. The fermentation gives the cassava a sour note that is a bit of an acquired taste but this is balanced out in this recipe by the sugar and coconut.

Pindang Tapai

Pindang Tapai

INGREDIENTS:

  • Fermented Cassava
  • 3 Tbsp Palm sugar
  • 100 g White Sugar
  • 300 ml Coconut milk
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ½ Tbsp Small sago pearls
  • 1 Pandan leaf
  • Egg white, beaten

METHOD:
1) Combine coconut milk, sago, pandan leaf, white sugar and palm sugar. Cook until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pandan leaf.
2) Add salt and fermented cassava. Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened.
3) Turn off the heat, then add the egg white and stir.

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How to Cook Ikan Masak Lemak Belimbing Buluh (Fish in Sour Coconut Sauce)

I’ve never come across belimbing buluh in Australia – and in fact was only recently introduced to it during my trip to Perak and Suka-Suka Lake Retreat. It’s about the size of a gherkin but smooth, and it is used as a souring agent. A good substitute would be green mango (a tip I received from Penang’s Hotel Jen in the video for Penang Asam Pedas).

Fish in Sour Coconut Sauce aka Ikan Masak Lemak Belimbing Buluh

Fish in Sour Coconut Sauce aka Ikan Masak Lemak Belimbing Buluh

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500 g Red fish
  • 5 belimbing buluh (Averrhoa bilimbi ), sliced (substitute with green mango)
  • Salt to taste

For the sauce –

  • 4 Shallots
  • 1 Stalk Lemongrass
  • 1 Cup Coconut Milk
  • ½ cup Water
  • 1 cm Fresh turmeric, pureed
  • 15 g Galangal
  • Red Chilli, cut in half

METHOD:
1) Combine all sauce ingredients and bring to a boil.
2) Add fish, belimbing buluh and salt, and stir gently.
3) Once fish is cooked through, remove from heat and serve.

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How to Make Lawar Ikan Merah (Red Fish Ceviche)

I’ve seen this referred elsewhere as “Kelantan sushi”. This is a good example of the distinctiveness of Kelantan food, since the use of raw fish in a dish isn’t really a feature of Malaysian cuisine in general (apart from the Chinese New Year raw fish salad, I really can’t think of any).

Lawar Ikan Merah aka Red Fish Ceviche

Lawar Ikan Merah aka Red Fish Ceviche

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500 g Red fish fillet, sliced and marinated in lime juice
  • 2 Large red chillies, finely sliced
  • 4 Bird’s eye chillies, finely sliced
  • Daun kesum aka laksa leaves, finely sliced
  • 1-inch Ginger, finely sliced
  • 2 Red onions, finely sliced
  • 10 g Salt
  • 5 g Sugar

METHOD:
1) Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
2) Add salt, sugar and lime juice to taste.
3) Cover and let it sit in the refrigerator for about 2 ½ hours with occasional stirring to make sure the fish is evenly saturated with the lime juice. Serve.

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