Spicy tamarind (asam jawa) fish

Spicy tamarind (asam jawa) fish

I have not cooked asam jawa aka tamarind fish for ages. Just last month I was talking with a friend about this dish.

She had bought some amazingly fresh mackerels and I suggested to her this is one of the dish she can cook with her mackerels. This dish must be sour, sweet and spicy. All you need is a big pot of rice.

It is an extremely simple cook and the most difficult thing to do was to clean the kitchen after frying!

Actually I have made a mistake. I should not have bought such a big wild seabass as it was so big my biggest wok 36 cm can’t fit! Thus frying the fish crispy was not so easy. It’s just that the seabass was so fresh and winking at me yesterday at the fishmonger.

In the end, however the dish prevails. 😀

p/s Taste and adjust to your taste. I prefer mine more sour, follow by spicy then sweet. The touch of soy sauce also adds that bit of extra depth of flavour. Season it to your taste.

Spicy tamarind (asam jawa) fish

Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese


  • Big wok


  • 1 or more Seabass / mackerels (fry till crispy)
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Garlic (minced)
  • Torch ginger (optional)
  • 2 to 3 nos Red Onions (sliced)
  • 1 cup Tamarind (asam jawa)
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 to 2 Fresh red chillies (sliced)
  • Sugar, soy sauce and freshly ground pepper
  • Fresh coriander


  • Firstly fry the fish till crispy. Mackerels is nice for this dish. Remove and set aside.
  • In a wok, place your oil, fry your garlic, onions and torch ginger, adding the tamarind and water.
  • Taste and season with soy sauce, sugar and freshly ground pepper. Lastly add in your fresh chillies and spoon on top of fish just before serving.
  • Top with fresh coriander and serve with plain rice.
Keyword tamarind

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