Asam Pedas Ikan Pari

April 24, 2023

Asam pedas or asam padeh (in Bahasa Indonesia) means sour spicy, is a classic favourite dish among Malaysians.
Tamarind based asam pedas is more popular in the southern part of Malaysia, sometimes known as Asam Pedas Melaka!

asam pedas

What is Asam Pedas?

Asam pedas, literally means 'sour spicy'.
A dish that is very appetising, to cook any type of fish in it.
The sour comes from tamarind extract to mask any 'fishy' taste and smell.

Spicy, well, we can not survive without chillies :).

What makes asam pedas special is the fresh and fragrant herbs we use to cook with, like vietnamese mint (daun kesum), ginger torch flower (bunga kantan) and fresh turmeric leaf.

I like to use skate wings for my asam pedas but any kind of fish goes well with this dish.

Hope you will love this asam pedas recipe made from scratch.

How to cook Asam Pedas?

The list of ingredients and method is in the recipe card below.

I will explain step by step with these photos and may add a pointer or two.

1. Making asam pedas paste

3 or 4 shallots.
Brown onion can be used instead of shallots.
Red onion is a better option as it has a sweeter taste than brown onion.

turmeric and shallots
About an inch of fresh turmeric to be added into the blender.
If you are not able to find fresh turmeric, then use equivalent amount of frozen turmeric (I used frozen turmeric)
The last resort, you can use 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric.

add chillies to turmeric and shallots
Chillies are a must for this asam pedas recipe.
Dried chillies are widely used as it gives more depth to the heat level but you can opt for fresh chillies, or mix the two

add pineapples
Pineapples!, not many recipe will have pineapples in the asam pedas.
I added pineapples to bring that subtle sour and sweetness to the dish.

nutri blend to blend spice
Add water if needed to start blending.

Blend into a smooth paste.
Blend into a smooth paste.

2. Cooking asam pedas paste.

Heat pot and add 1/2 cup of cooking oil.
Heat pot and add 1/2 cup of cooking oil.

Add blended chillies into the hot oil.
Add blended chillies into the hot oil.
Stir thoroughly to mix well.

Add lemongrass into the pot.
Add lemongrass into the pot.
I made a few slits on the lemongrass to impart the flavour into the dish.
Alternative is to blend lemongrass together with the chillies earlier.

Add belacan granules.
Add belacan granules.
Belacan is fermented shrimp paste that usuallay comes in blocks.
However, I find it much easier to use belacan powder instead!

Tamarind concentrate
Tamarind concentrate.
This is a must have, must add ingredients to make asam pedas.
Without tamarind concentrate, this dish will be lacking of that distinct sour from tamarind itself!

stir paste
Stir and keep and eye as to not burnt the spice paste as it gets thicker

Cook until the oil separates from the paste or oil splits
Cook until the oil separates from the paste or oil splits.

Add water if need be
If the paste gets too thick and not really thoroughly cook, add a bit of water.
Continue to stir until the paste thicken, fragrant and chillies cooked through

make gravy
Once the oil splits, add water to make the gravy or soup.

3. Fresh herbs and vegetables used in making asam pedas.

Cut tomatoes into quarters and add to the pot.
Cut tomatoes into quarters and add to the pot.

vietnamese mint.
Daun kesum or vietnamese mint.
Vietnamese mint has that distinctive fragrant and taste.
I can not think of anything to replace or substitute vietnamese mint with.

Ginger torch flower.
Ginger torch flower or bunga kantan.
This is another ingredients that stood out on its own.
Ginger torch flower can be found in abundance in Malaysia and south east Asia region.

Sadly, I can only get frozen ginger torch flower from Asian grocer.
And quite costly too :(

lady's fingers
Okra or lady's fingers.
Some like it and some hated this vegetables.
Not adding okra to asam pedas is not a biggie at all and will not affect the taste of asam pedas.

Do note that if you are using fresh okra, do add them before adding the fish.
I used frozen okra that was pre-cooked, so I add mine after I added the fish to the pot.

4. What type of fish is good to use in asam pedas?

skate wings
Any kind of fish can be used to add to asam pedas.
I found some skate wings, so, the first thought that came to mind is to cook asam pedas.

Add salt and sugar to enhance the taste.

Asam pedas must be spicy, sour, salty with a tad of sweetness to it.

5. Final step in making a delicious asam pedas.

add fresh turmeric
Christmas Islanders add fresh turmeric leaves or daun kunyit to their asam pedas.
Combinations of fresh turmeric, vietnamese mint and ginger torch flower makes asam pedas flavourful.
I tell you, I can eat this dish everyday!

Bring the pot to boil for at least 5 minutes.
Bring the pot to boil for at least 5 minutes.

Serve asam pedas with hot steam rice.
Serve asam pedas with hot steam rice.

asam pedas recipe

FAQ on Asam Pedas

1. How to keep leftover asam pedas?

Any leftover asam pedas should be kept in the refrigerator.
Cover the pot or container with cling film, so that any 'fridge' aroma will not contaminate or vice versa.

2. Can I re-heat asam pedas?

Yes, you can re-heat asam pedas in either microwave or re-heat in a pot on the stove.
I much prefer to re-heat in microwave, less stiring required, so the fish and vegetables will not turn to mush.

3.  long can I keep asam pedas in the fridge for?

Asam pedas is best eaten on the day.
However, any leftover should be kept in the fridge and to be consumed within 3 days.

Did you know...

there is another type of asam pedas.
This is a much simpler asam pedas or I would say more like spicy and sour fish soup, known as Asam Pedas Rebus!

Video on How to cook Asam Pedas

Asam pedas or Asam padeh  means sour spicy, a classic favourite dish among Malaysians. Tamarind paste and dried chillies soup based, using skate fish.

Posted 11th August 2010

"Eid Mubarak and Selamat Berpuasa

To all my readers celebrating Ramadan...

Time flies ... and here we are ~ coming to the end of winter... and Ramadan is here too!!!  What a nice way to warm up our tummy with a nice hot and spicy Asam Pedas.. 

This is another version of Asam Pedas... which is quite a common dish for the southern part of Malaysia... The gravy is thick, spicy hot, slightly sourish and the heavenly taste of ginger flowers (bunga kantan) with Vietnamese mint (daun kesum)...

Mr H will not mind if I were to cook this type of Asam Pedas but not the Northern 'watery' Asam Pedas . :(


  1. This looks so yummy! I love the sauce a lot.

  2. Your dish look so delicious. I love asam pedas. Must try it soon.

  3. Selamat berpuasa!! Asam pedas ni memang nampak sedap la!

  4. Angie,
    I have to cook extra cup of rice... everyone would want second helping...

    Thnx... it would nice if we can find stingray..

    I suka Asam Pedas yg cair (Kedah mari)... serupa kuah laksa kan... :)

  5. I jugak suka yang cair... style Kedah ma.. :)