Asam Pedas (Spicy Tamarind Fish) is a classic Malaysia and Singapore dish. Spanish Mackerel, Stingray or Pomfret are normally used to cook this Nyonya style dish. The gravy has the perfect balance of hotness, sweetness and sourness, goes very well with rice. This recipe is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious.

Chinese Version: 酸辣娘惹式亞參魚食谱

Asam Pedas (Spicy Tamarind Fish) Recipe

Nyonya Style Asam Pedas Recipe | MyKitchen101en


  • 400g fish
  • 6 okra (ladies’ fingers)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 20 dried chillies (~ 25g)
  • 3-4 shallots (~ 35g)
  • 3 garlic cloves (~ 10g)
  • 1 onion (~ 55g)
  • 1 lemongrass stalk
  • 1 Tbsp dried shrimp
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder (or 3-cm piece of fresh turmeric root)
  • 1 lime (Extract juice)
  • 2-3 Tbsp Asam Jawa (Tamarind) paste (soak in some water to extract the flavor)
  • 2 sprig of Vietnamese cilantro (daun kesum, laksa leaf)
  • 4 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 800ml water
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar

(adjust salt and sugar to your liking)



1 Vietnamese cilantro (Persicaria odorata) or commonly known as Laksa leaf(Daun Kesum) in Malaysia and Singapore. This herb is often used in Southeast Asia cooking.

Asam Pedas (Spicy Tamarind Fish) Vietnamese cilantro (daun kesum, laksa leaf)

2 Trick for choosing younger Okra (ladies’ fingers) is to use your finger to feel the tip. Those with softer tips will be the youngest pods. Young okras are more tender with better texture. Add vegetables such as long bean, eggplant if you prefer.

How to Pick Okra - Asam Pedas (Spicy Tamarind Fish)

3 Mix tamarind paste with some water and set aside.

Asam Pedas (Spicy Tamarind Fish) Tamarind Paste


4 Cut, rinse and drain dried chillies.

Asam Pedas (Spicy Tamarind Fish) Dried Chilli

5 Combine shallot, garlic, onion, lemongrass, dried shrimp, turmeric powder and dried chillies in a blender, add in some water and process into paste, stir in between.

Asam Pedas (Spicy Tamarind Fish) Blending

6 Add in 4 Tbsps of cooking oil, heat paste over medium heat, continue stirring. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the oil separate out and the paste starts to have fragrance.

Asam Pedas (Spicy Tamarind Fish) Chilli Paste

7 Add in fish, 800ml water, ladies’ fingers, tomato, sprig of laksa leaf. Bring to the boil again, reduce to low heat and cook for 8 minutes or until fish is fully cooked. Reduce amount of water if you prefer thicker gravy.

Asam Pedas (Spicy Tamarind Fish) Vietnamese cilantro

8 Add in salt, sugar, lime juice and juice from tamarind paste. Adjust sourness taste to your liking.

Adding Lime Asam Pedas (Spicy Tamarind Fish)

9 Turn off heat and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Asam Pedas (Spicy Tamarind Fish) Recipe