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Asam Padeh (Asam Pedas): Malay Tamarind and Chilli Fish Curry

Asam Padeh (Asam Pedas): Malay Tamarind and Chilli Fish Curry

  • Author: Deyana Goh
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Fish & Seafood
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: Indonesian
  • Diet: Halal


Asam padeh in Indonesian, or asam pedas in Malay, is a common fish curry made using a paste of dried chillies and tamarind, giving it a refreshing yet complex flavour.


  • 4 fish steaks
  • Juice from one lime
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 200 ml water
  • 1 large onion or 8 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 inch ginger, sliced
  • 1 inch galangal, sliced
  • 20 dried chillies, deseeded
  • Pinch of turmeric powder
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, bruised and sliced
  • 3 lime leaves, torn
  • Another 400 ml water
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Pinch of sugar


  1. Squeeze the lime over the fish and marinate with salt. Set aside.
  2. Dilute the tamarind paste in 200ml of water. Strain. Set aside.
  3. Boil the deseeded dried chillies for 5 minutes. Strain.
  4. Blend into a fine paste: chillies, onion, garlic, ginger and galangal.
  5. In a wok or pot, heat the oil over a medium flame.
  6. Add the blended paste. Saute until the paste thickens and the water has mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add the lemongrass and turmeric powder. Mix well.
  8. Add the diluted tamarind paste. Mix well.
  9. Add the 400ml water, salt and sugar. Let it boil for about 15 minutes.
  10. Add the lime leaves and the fish. Cook for another 10 minutes. Meanwhile, you can adjust the seasoning.
  11. Turn off the flame and serve.

    Asam Pedas is ready


  • All sorts of fish are used to make asam padeh. Here I’ve used ikan kerisi (threadfin bream), but any fish will do, as long as it isn’t soft and doesn’t fall apart easily. Some commonly used fish for asam pedas include tenggiri (Spanish mackerel) and stingray, and sometimes, red snapper. 

Keywords: Healthy, Spicy, galangal, lemongrass