Ikan Masak Asam

Fish in Tamarind Sauce

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Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

My Rendang isn't Crispy

My Rendang isn't Crispy

By Zaleha Kadir Olpin

Published 2019

  • About

Cooking this dish is my sister-in-law, Rokiah’s speciality, and this is her recipe for which I have her full blessing and permission to share. I love how such simple ingredients contribute to making this super delicious dish. You can use boneless fish fillet instead of a whole fish. Simply cut the fillet into small pieces and follow the method from step 2.


  • 1 sea bream, sea bass or red mullet, gutted and cleaned
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 250 ml (8 fl oz / 1 cup) vegetable oil
  • 3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and cut into thin slices
  • 2.5-cm (1-inch) knob ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 2–3 Tbsp tamarind juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 green chilli, cut into thin strips
  • 1 red chilli, cut into thin strips
  • 4 bird’s eye chillies, bruised
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz / ½ cup) water
  • 2 medium white onions, peeled and sliced


  • Score the fish on both sides.
  • Rub the fish with salt and turmeric powder and set aside for 10 minutes.
  • Heat the oil in a non-stick wok over medium heat. Gently lower the fish into the hot oil and fry until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Arrange on a serving plate and keep warm.
  • Using a clean wok, reheat 2 Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic and ginger and fry gently until it starts to brown.
  • Add the tamarind juice, sugar, oyster sauce and chillies. Stir for a few minutes, then add the water and bring to a boil.
  • Add the onions, then pour the sauce over the fried fish. Serve immediately with rice and other dishes on the side.