Thursday, 22 February 2007

My Mom-in-law's Assam Pedas

Hi everyone. In the last posting, the reference himalayan sea salt should actually be himalayan rock salt! Hiya, dont know tt there exist a sea on top of the himalayas!!

Now I'd like to share the recipe that I will never forget. Took me a while to master this, ever since I was dating.... ye ke? my husband. Anyway, how my mom prepares this dish is totally different from how my my mom-in-law does it. And for the Johorean (the southern state of the peninsular), assam pedas is like curry in Kedah(the norther part of the peninsular), they have it every day! My father-in-laws obsession with assam pedas in that he has it with rice for lunch, with bread for dinner and cream crackers for tea or breakfast. Now, my daughter Khadijah has it with bread and Yusof likes it with cream crackers.

I dare not improvise this recipe, choi! So, here's assam pedas muar....


20-25 dried chillies, deseed, soaked or boiled
(I also like to add about 5 fresh chillies, to give a "fresher" taste to the gravy)
10-15 shallots (or 2 large red onion)
4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 inch ginger
1 1/2 inch fresh turmeric
1 teaspoon belacan(dried shrimp paste, the maggie belacan granules is equally good)
2 tbsp tamarind paste, add with water to dilute
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 bunga kantan (torch ginger), sliced or quartered
5 stalks daun kesum (polygunom leaves)
3 cups water
2 pieces parang/ jenahak/red snapper/pomfret fillet


1. Blend dried chillies, fresh chillies, shallots, ginger, garlic and belacan with a bit of water to form a paste.

2. Heat oil, fry the assam pedas paste on a slow medium fire until fragrant. Add tamarind paste.

3. Add water, leave to boil.

4. Add fish fillet, torch ginger and daun kesum.

5. Add salt to taste.

I have tried cooking ikan pari (stingray), and adding a few dash of black pepper milled into the paste, to get rid of the "fishy" smell from the fish. My mom loves adding tomatoes and/or ladies fingers into her assam pedas. I have never tried that, before. However, yesterday whilst having dinner at "Cable Car" in Jaya Supermarket in PJ, I notice that in their assam pedas was red bell peppers, ladies fingers and tomatoes, and the assam pedas is more of a "Nyonya" style. Try the recipe and tell me waht it is like.

Shilla, I'll give you the crab curry recipe later. Better still, when I make it , I'll pass over to your house!


- Azie - said...

hi.. Kitchen Guardian,
thanks for your Muar Asam Pedas recipies.. My mom also from Muar, but her recipies slightly different (omit the torch ginger & garlic).

now I add some serai to my asam pedas & torch ginger (sometimes) into my asam peadas & I kinda like it.

neeway, I'll give a try on your mom's muar asam pedas recipie later..

MA & Brood said...

Hi MomOfFour a.k.a Kitchen Guardian !

Asam Pedas or Kuah Pedas as we Johorean lovingly refer it to is a staple food for me.

I eat them with macaroni ! Maybe your kids would like to try that ;-)

Anyway - my favourite fish is ikan kembung (the big juicy ones) and fresh tenggiri fillet - and normally I would sauteed it halfcooked as you "tumis" the cilipaste (just before adding the tamarind ) and remove it - just to get the juices and taste blended. Then after bringing it to boil, you add the fish back in.

Apart from adding in tomatoes and lady fingers - have you tried the sayur asin ? Don't forget to soak in in water for a couple of hours ( I normally soak for 24 hours) to get rid of the salty taste.

Yummm...I am hungry already !

Mak Andeh.

Kitchen Guardian said...

hmm mak andeh, hv not tried wt macaroni or the sayur asin, but it must be good.

however we had on our way to muar had assam pedas at this stall in parit bunga, corner on the left just as you enter parit bunga high street. the assam pedas has sayur assin in it, its divine, you must try it.

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I love this post because I love asam pedas!! Thanks to my Melaka heritage. My late grandma (alfatihah)and mom make a MEAN assam pedas. The base is the same only when you vary it with either belimbing, bunga kantan, nenas or whateva... it gets BETTER! Your recipe here is the same one I use although I have yet to betul2 master THE taste like how my mom does it... :p

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