Pindang Serani

Clear Aromatic Milkfish Soup


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Flavors of Indonesia

By William Wongso

Published 2016

  • About

This cooking method is common throughout Indonesia, from Sumatra to Eastern Indonesia. In this particular recipe, all the spices are not ground, but chopped instead and sweat until fragrant. The soup is then used to boil fresh seafood before serving time. It yields a spicy, sour, and savory seafood soup.


  • 500 gr milkfish
  • 10 pcs cherry tomatoes
  • 250 gr Averrhoa bilimbi/bilimbi (optional, or replaced with fresh lemon juice)
  • 10 sheets basil leaves
  • 10 gr salt (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 gr pepper powder
  • 200 gr lime
  • 3 sheets lime leaves/kaffir lime leaves
  • 10 pcs cayenne
  • 30 gr sugar
  • 1 liter water

Sliced Spices

  • 40 ml cooking oil
  • 40 gr shallot
  • 40 gr garlic (about 8 cloves)
  • 30 gr ginger
  • 10 gr turmeric
  • 40 gr galangal
  • 4 stalks lemongrass



  1. Sweat sliced spices, add lime leaves and stir until fragrant. Add water and simmer over low heat until boiled. Add the Averrhoa bilimbi.
  2. Prepare stock pot and strain the broth, discard the spices, keep the Averrhoa bilimbi. Bring to boil over low heat. Add salt, pepper, and lime juice
  3. Take two cups of the broth. Pour into a small pot, bring to boil. Add milkfish, cook for about 3 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Prepare soup bowl. Put the milkfish inside the bowl, along with cherry tomatoes, and slices of Averrhoa bilimbi. Pour hot spiced broth on top.
  5. Garnish with basil leaves before serving.

Salmon Soup


The modern version is made by simply replacing the milkfish with salmon. Bilimbi can be substituted with lime.

Modern interpretation of