Most probably, if I am not mistaken or as far as I know and according to my Malaysian palates, Assam Fish Curry must be branded as our Malay dish. Of course, there is also the Chinese style to Assam Fish Curry, but this my version, definitely is how the Malays will cook. My favourite. I don't only love saltiness (Kangkung Belacan), I also love sourness (Fried Kembung with Assam Sauce). And within the food context of this Assam Fish Curry, sourness from assam keping (dried tamarind pieces). Of course, you can use any other tamarind, no harm done. As long as sourness, you will do fine. Assam Fish Curry? Cooked to the right texture fish in a spicy, sour and Malaysian herbs scented curry, alongside brinjal.
4 small Chinese brinjals (cut lengthwise into two)
10 dried red chillies (or as needed)
1 medium size onion
1 inch ginger
1 inch turmeric (kunyit)
1 inch lengkuas (galangal)
1 stalk serai (lemongrass)
1 bunch daun kesum (water pepper leaves) - rinse.
1 stick of bunga kantan (torch ginger bud) - slice thinly.
2 pieces of assam keping (dried tamarind)
1 tsp crushed gula melaka/palm sugar
1/4 cup oil
Salt to taste
In heated oil, fry grounded ingredients over low heat till aromatic and oil splits.
Pour 1 litre water, add brinjal, assam, salt and sugar.
Simmer till heated through.
Add fish, gently stir and continue to simmer.
When fish is cooked, combine in bunga kantan and daun kesum.
Stir and remove from heat.