This Assam (Tamarind) Fish is a gluten free version of a very popular dish in Malaysia, mainly due to its mouth-watering hot, spicy and sour taste. It is usually made with seafood like fish, prawns and calamari. Types of fish such as mackerel, snapper, ling or pomfret (usually available in Asia) are commonly used to cook this dish. Assorted kinds of vegetables like okra, tomatoes, eggplants and even capsicums are also added. Like all well-liked cuisines, this dish also has quite a number of variations available.
Assam fish paste is a mixture of flavours, made from combining chillies, tamarind puree or tamarind paste or tamarind juice, a sour and naturally sweet ingredient, plus kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, turmeric, galangal and ginger. These spices give this dish a pungent and fresh aroma. It is not only a very healthy dish with lots of vegetables and spices, coconut milk is not added, therefore making it comparatively low fat as contrast with many other varieties of curries.
The sweet and tangy flavour of tamarind makes it one of the most extensively consumed spice condiments located in South-East Asian pantry. Tamarind is a much treasured product in the world due to its numerous nutritious elements that enhance its healthy influence. These comprise a substantial level of vitamin C, vitamin B group, vitamin E, calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, and magnesium. Its gluey pulp is an abundant source of non-starch polysaccharides or dietary fiber. Tamarind also has numerous organic compounds that make it both a potent antioxidant, as well as an anti-inflammatory agent.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 ling fillets 1.2kg cut into 3 inch pieces or any other firm white fish
- 12 okra also known as ladies fingers
- 1 large yellow capsicum cut into 3cm pieces
- 1 large red capsicum cut into 3cm pieces
- 2 medium Truss tomatoes diced into 2cm pieces
- 1 large brown union diced into 1 to 2cm pieces
- 1 jar of 114g tamarind puree Ayam or tamarind paste
- 2 tablespoons gluten free light soy sauce
- 2 sticks or teaspoons Natvia or raw brown sugar
- ½ cup of water
- 1 lemon cut into wedges
- Steamed rice to serve
For the spice paste:
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 French onion shallots halved
- 6 long fresh red chillies deseeded and cut into 3 cm pieces
- 5 kaffir lime leaves stems removed and leaves finely sliced
- 3 cm piece fresh galangal peeled and finely sliced
- 2 cm piece fresh ginger peeled and finely sliced
- 2 cm piece fresh turmeric peeled and finely sliced or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 stem lemon grass white part only, finely sliced
- Add the ingredients for the spice paste into a food processor and blend until you get a smooth paste. Alternatively, you can use a mortar and pestle if preferred.
- Heat up 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a wok and add the spice paste and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until aromatic on medium heat.
- Add the tomatoes, diced brown onion, tamarind, gluten free soy sauce, Natvia or raw brown sugar and ½ cup water to the wok and stir-fry for another 2 minutes on medium heat.
- Cook the ling fillets in the sauce in batches on low to medium heat for 2 minutes on each side or until fish is just cooked. Stirring the sauce frequently to ensure its not sticking at the bottom. Remove the fish and set aside.
- Add the okra to the wok and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat. Then add the yellow and red capsicums and cook for another 2 minutes or until all the vegetables are just cooked.
- Serve the ling fillets pieces on a plate together with the vegetables and sauce on top.
- Then serve together with steamed rice and lemon wedges.