Asam Pedas, literally meaning “sour and spicy”, is a classic Malaysian curry that can incorporate pretty much any kind of protein and/or vegetable. Today I’m sharing with you my family’s version of Asam Pedas Fish or Ikan Asam Pedas. This recipe is simple to put together, requires only a handful of ingredients and is an absolutely treat to your senses!
You know how we all have that ONE recipe of our Mom’s that we could eat almost every single day or every single week of our lives? That one dish you ALWAYS request to be served when you come home from being away for quite some time – be it college, a big move or even a vacation! That ONE recipe, you swear that no matter how hard you try, you can never replicate the same flavours that come from your Mom’s hands.
Yes, THAT one! We all have one of those – whatever it may be. For me, it is most definitely this recipe for Asam Pedas Fish curry, or Ikan Asam Pedas, as it is most popularly known in Malaysia. For those of you that don’t know, my Mom is Malaysian. So it comes as no surprise that I grew up eating classic Malay dishes on a regular basis.
Asam Pedas is a recipe that is quite a favourite in many Malay households. Each family has its own treasured recipes and ingredients vary depending on location and season. I personally love make this recipe using pieces of Pomfret fish – but when I’m pressed for time, or need an option that’s more readily available, I stick to using boneless fillets of Tilapia or Basa. But really, any kind of white fish would work well. I would however stay away from fish like Salmon that’s pretty strong tasting on its own. This is a very light curry, and you want to use a fish that can take on the sour and spicy notes and let it shine.
Asam Pedas Fish or Ikan Asam Pedas (Malay-style Sour & Spicy Fish Curry)
- 3 tbsp light cooking oil
- 1/4 tsp black mustard seeds
- 5-6 fresh curry leaves
- 2-3 garlic cloves finely sliced
- 1 medium onion thinly sliced
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 2 medium tomatoes finely chopped
- salt to taste
- water as needed
- 3 boneless tilapia fillets (or any other firm white fish of choice) cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 tbsp tamarind paste
- fresh cilantro leaves finely chopped for garnish
- Heat oil in a deep pan and add mustard seeds, curry leaves, and garlic and let it start to sizzle. Add in sliced onions and let brown slightly.
- Toss in spices, chopped tomatoes and salt, and stir-fry for a few minutes till tomatoes begin to soften and pulp.
- Add in a cup of water, cover with a lid and let it come to a slight boil. Add in fish pieces and continue to cook for a few more minutes till fish is almost cooked through.
- Stir in tamarind paste and cook covered for another 3-4 minutes till the fish has soaked in all the flavours. You can add in a bit water at this point depending on the consistency of the curry you'd prefer.
- Garnish with chopped coriander and serve warm over steamed rice.
This post was originally published in April 2007 and has been recently updated.
If you enjoyed this recipe, you will surely love my Shrimp Sambal, Coconut Fish Curry and Ginger Shrimp Stir-fry recipe as well.
Tried this recipe? Leave a Comment and let me know, also Rate it by clicking the number of stars on the recipe card. Want to share your version with me? Tag me on Instagram @hookedonheat
I just tried this recipe and loved it!! It was simple enough to prepare and not spicy, so my kids really enjoyed it. Really thank you!
I love fish curry and my mother’s recipes are always good. As much as I love the dish, I hardly make it here in the US because I can’t find the fish I wanted–they are either the wrong kinds or they are stale.
You fish curry looks like the ones I usually get at Mamak (Indian-Muslim) restaurants/stalls in Penang. 🙂
Shelley Hennig says
Lovely recipe! This packed a lot of punch, but was still delicious. I’m still rather new to the world of Indian food. 🙂
I am so glad that i came across your website. I’ve been looking for these kind of recepies for a longtime. Ever since I tried a fusion of Indian/ Chinese cuisine back at home i’ve beem hooked. Thank you so much!
Nidhi Rajgopal says
I tried this fish recipe and it was amazing. I don’t cook seafood often but, your step by step instruction helped a lot. Cant wait to try some of your other recipe’s.
Hey Meena, I tried this dish fr my mum yest…it turned out great! thanks for this simple but delicious curry 🙂
meena , The curry looks divine. I have bookmarked it .
I love reading about this curry. I love cooking as well. But never cooked or ate non-veg until few months ago. Now since i am eating it, so I was browsing internet for some quick and easy reciepes. Thanks! BTW my name is also Meenakshi
Hey Meena, The fish curry turned out wonderful. Thanks for the recipe as always. I can’t wait for your next one. I always peek into your blog before going grocery shopping 🙂
You moved fast with fish curries. I just made your one-pot fish curry wonder, and you are already at hot and sour curry. Made some very very slight modifications though, just because I did not have most of the leaves-ingredients on hand. But I tell ya, it’s really a one-pot-wonder (in your words). I just posted it today! Thanks for the easy yet tasty recipe. 😀
Hey Meena, this recipe looks awesome. I am a big Salmon fan living in West coast. I will try this recipe this week 🙂
Yum. That looks so delicious and anything that can be cooked during Bollywood song sequences gets my vote!
I will definitely be trying this one out Meena – can’t wait! Am looking forward to the next Indian 101 instalment also! 🙂
Meena I have been a regular reader here and have tried quite a few of your recipes. Last night i tried your Paneer Makhani and wowed the family! Thanks so much for sharing these recipes! I am a gujarati girl but LOVE trying out Punjabi fare and the paneer makhani was real yummy!!! thanks much for all the goodies on this site!
Monika Korngut says
Wow, I’m very impressed, cooking, chopping, watching a movie, and a perfect dish. I never had curry fish but it sounds amazing!! I love it. I will be sure to try it.
Yes, yes, yes! To the Bollywood movie and the fish curry. My absolute favourite meal is curried fish. I am definitely going to try your Malay version.
Fantastic website and your writing and recipes gave me the courage to start cooking; thanks!