Enjoy this Indonesian inspired fish dish flavoured with cumin, coriander and grated coconut.


  • 1 heaped tbsp tamarind paste

  • 3-4 chillies, chopped

  • a good knob of galangal (or ginger), grated

  • a small knob of turmeric, grated (or 1 heaped tspn ground turmeric)

  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, bashed and finely sliced

  • 6 shallots, chopped

  • 1 tspn ground cumin

  • 1 tspn ground coriander

  • 2 tspn belacan (Asian fish paste)

  • vegetable oil

  • 1 cup fish stock

  • 1-2 cups coconut milk (or cream)

  • ½ cup freshly grated coconut

  • 1 heaped tspn shaved palm sugar (or soft brown sugar)

  • 150 gm bamboo shoots, sliced

  • 4 x 180 gm fish steaks

  • 2-3 spring (green) onions, shredded on diagonal

  • steamed rice


  • 1.

    Soak the tamarind paste in 1 cup water and then push through a fine sieve.

  • 2.

    Pound the chillies, galangal, turmeric, garlic, lemongrass and shallots with a mortar and pestle (or in a food processor) until reasonably coarse.

  • 3.

    Then add the cumin, coriander and the belacan (fish paste). Mix well and stir in a slurp of oil.

  • 4.

    Heat a little oil in a wok (or large non-stick pan) and sauté the rempah (paste) until toasted, continually stirring.

  • 5.

    Add the stock, coconut milk, grated coconut, tamarind water, sugar and bamboo shoots. Mix well and simmer for about 5 mins.

  • 6.

    Then turn the heat down and the add fish. Gently toss until well coated and simmer for 10-12 mins until cooked, basting and turning now and again.

  • 7.

    Scatter spring onion over the fish and serve with steamed rice on the side.

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