Daily Cooking Quest

Malaysian Assam Fish Curry

One of my happy food memories in Malaysia is to visit the Mamak stall. The crazy amount of good food to be had at very reasonable price is just unbelievable. Pity I never have a gigantic appetite or I would have devoured the many offerings and just sat there grinning with a happy face like an idiot for hours and hours :)

Malaysian Assam Fish Curry

One particular dish that I really crave for is assam fish curry. It’s like the most delicious fish curry ever, on par with our own Indonesian style fish head curry. It has everything, spicy, sour, sweet, savory, and I can eat my rice just with this one dish alone, and I might even have a second helping of rice! Believe me, it is that good. So, make it at home and dig in.

Malaysian Assam Fish Curry

Malaysian Assam Fish Curry

4.0 from 3 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 15 mins

Total Time: 30 mins

Serves: 4


  • 4 tablespoon oil
  • 3 sprigs curry leaves
  • 2 lemongrass, bruised and knotted
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tomato, cut into 8 wedges
  • 30 gram tamarind pulp + 1 1/2 cup water, mix well, strained
  • 650 - 700 gram firm white fish fillet (e.g. monk fish, red snapper)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 250 gram okra, cut into halves
  • Grind the following into spice paste
  • 50 gram shallots (Indonesian: bawang merah)
  • 3 cloves garlic (Indonesian: bawang putih)
  • 3 serrano/cayenne chilies (Indonesian: cabe keriting)
  • 1 inch ginger


  1. Heat oil in a wok on medium high and sauté spice paste until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add curry leaves, lemongrass, and curry powder. Mix well, and cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add tomato and tamarind liquid, bring to a boil.
  4. Add fish fillet, season with sugar and salt. Cook until fish is cooked through. Adjust taste as needed.
  5. Add okra, cook for another minute.
  6. Turn off heat, transfer to a serving bowl. Serve immediately with steamed white rice.


  • Liana says:

    I love your recipe.. Versatile, easy to follow and absolutely delicious!!!!

    • Anita says:

      Thank you for the lovely comment, Liana :) I am happy you love the recipe.

  • Desiree says:

    Can add lemongrass candlenut and belacan and curry leaves and fried the fish first?

    • Anita says:

      Yes, you can fried the fish first if you like.

  • Desiree says:

    I actually season the fish with salt and black pepper. Fried first the put in last to the curry. I also add belacan, candlenut.

  • Desiree says:

    And I use mackerel fish I think it taste better

  • Leah says:

    Will the flavour be good if I don't use Okra?

    • Anita says:

      It should be okay Leah. If you want to have some vegetables in it, you can try using eggplant instead of okra :)

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