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Asam Pedas Salmon Fish Head (Sour and Spicy Salmon Fish Head Stew)

Asam Pedas is a sour (asam) and spicy (pedas) gravy that is a popular choice to be eaten with rice. It is fish-based and made with the juice of the tamarind plant and plenty of ground chillies.


  • 2 pieces fresh salmon fish head or any fish head - split head into half

  • 2 stalks lemon grass/serai - bruise ( this is extra)

  • 1 thumb size lengkuas/galangal - bruise (this is extra)

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • ingredients 1

  • 20 dry chillies - seeded and soaked in hot water - when soft drain and dry

  • chillies

  • 2 big onions or 15 small onions

  • 3 garlic

  • 2 stalks of serai/lemon grass - sliced

  • 1 thumb size lengkuas/galangal - thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon belachan

  • 1 tablespoon fresh kunyit/powdered turmeric

  • ingredients 2

  • 1 tablespoon kicap manis

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 1½ tablespoon asam/tamarind paste

  • 4 pieces kaffir lime leaves

  • 1 cup of water - it all depends on how thick you want the gravy to be - add

  • little first, then slowly add a little more.


  • 1.

    Pound Ingredients 1 in a mortar and pestle.

  • 2.

    Use a non stick pan so that you don't use too much oil.

  • 3.

    Heat pan on medium heat, add oil, fry pounded ingredients for 5 minutes.

  • 4.

    Add bruised lemon grass/serai and bruised galangal/lengkuas.

  • 5.

    Stir fry over low heat for 15 minutes.

  • 6.

    Add Ingredients 2.

  • 7.

    Lower heat, cover pan and cook for 15 minutes.

  • 8.

    Add fish head, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

  • 9.

    Serve with rice, steamed okra and sambal belachan.


You can make different variations with this spice sauce/rempah:
Prawns and pineapple
Squids and brinjals
Vietnamese mint can be used instead of kaffir lime leaves.
Vietnamese mint is laksa leaf in Malaysia and Singapore.

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Awesome when cooked and eaten
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