Wednesday, February 24, 2010

assam fish

This recipe is another keeper from Food Safari (google: SBS food safari). I got a chance to do this one because the cleaner at my work just came back from a fishing trip and she gave me two steak chunks of mackerel from the fish that she caught herself. Thanks Flossy, you're tops!

I kinda butchered this recipe, because I couldn't find a mortar and pestle to grind the rempah to a fine paste. So I used a blender which couldn't make the rempah into a fine paste. Added to that, silly me, I tried to stir the rempah with a chopstick while the blender was still on. Can you believe it? So I had to throw away that chewed up chopstick and start over. In the end, I think I did an OK job. Maybe that'll teach me next time to stick to the instructions to a tee.

1. Tamarind paste
2. Blachan / terasi
3. Lemongrass
4. Assam fish

This recipe has to be done with really fresh fish, because the spices bring out the flavour of the fish. The sweet, the spicy and the sour. They all worked really well together.

Assam fish
by food safari

Rempah ingredients:
  • 10 eschallots
  • 2 fresh red chillies
  • ½ head garlic peeled
  • 1½ cm knob of young ginger
  • ½ tsp blachan

Main ingredients:
  • 400-500g tail end of mackerel or other strong flavoured oily fish
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, bruised with the back of a knife or cleaver
  • 1½ tbsp tamarind pulp mixed with 500ml water, strained through sieve once reconstituted
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and quartered
  • 2 large red chillies, split lengthwise in half and seeded
  • 2 large green chillies, split lengthwise in half and seeded
  • Sugar, salt to taste

  1. Chop fish into segments cross-wise through the backbone around 5cm thick. Coat fish pieces in a mixture of all purpose flour mixed with a little ground turmeric and lightly fry in oil. Set aside.
  2. Grind rempah in mortar and pestle or food processor into a fine paste. Fry rempah in heavy base non-reactive metal pan over high heat, with couple of tablespoons of neutral flavoured oil, until fragrant.
  3. Add lemongrass, chillies tomatoes and tamarind juice. Bring mixture to boil. Season. It should be a mixture of hot, sweet, sour and salty. Add the fish and let it poach slowly over lower heat.

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