When it comes to my favourite seafood curry, I can never refuse Asam pedas ikan pari or sour and spicy stingray curry. The base flavour of asam pedas is sourness and spiciness. Made with homemade blended spices, the curry uses a variety of vegetables to sweeten the flavour. Preparing asam pedas is easy but specific ingredients are required. Read on to know how to prepare a decent asam pedas dish using substitutes.
Type of fishes
Just like grilled fish (Ikan Bakar), my personal favourite fish for this recipe is stingray. My husband enjoyed the curry a lot but he did suggest using a different type of fish because stingray does not have much flesh.
The soft flesh of the stingray soaks up the curry perfectly unlike other fishes. However, if it is not possible to obtain stingray or skate, replace it with any white fishes like red snapper or sea bass. A viewer prepared asam pedas with salmon and it worked just fine too!
Important ingredients and substitutes
The special ingredients are tamarind peel, ginger torch flower and Vietnamese coriander aka laksa leaves. These ingredients are the cores that create the special 'asam pedas' taste and aroma.
Having said that, I understand that in many countries, tamarind peel, ginger torch flower and Vietnamese coriander are not available. Do not let that hold you back from making this dish. As the sourness of the dish is really important, you need to have tamarind pulp or tamarind paste, at least. A good balance of sourness, saltiness, sweetness and spiciness is all you need to make a good 'asam pedas' dish.
Tips to improve the flavour of Asam Pedas
Remember to simmer the curry until it thickens slightly for the optimum flavour. Asam pedas ikan pari is one dish that tastes better with every mouthful. Hence, I do not mind letting it sit for 2-3 hours after it is ready as the taste gets more flavourful as time passes.