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Pindang Salmon - Salmon in Spicy and Sour Soup

The city of Palembang on the island of Sumatra is famous for its seafood dishes, and this pindang salmon (salmon in spicy and sour soup) is one such dish. In Palembang, the fish most commonly used to make this soup is ikan patin (swai), but I use salmon since this is much easier to find in the United States. If you want, you can use catfish too, but I prefer salmon to catfish :)

Pindang Salmon - Salmon in Spicy and Sour Soup

To make this soup, you will need fish of your choice (salmon or catfish, or swai if you can find it), tomatoes, pineapple, limes, lemongrass, ginger, galangal, bird eye chilies, Thai basil leaves, and scallions. Just going through the ingredients, one can image the soup to be very fresh, with sourness from tomatoes and limes, sweetness from pineapples, and spiciness from bird eye chilies. The soup looks and tastes amazing, and I think a soup like this is just the perfect thing to ward off winter chill.

Pindang Salmon - Salmon in Spicy and Sour Soup

Pindang Salmon - Salmon in Spicy and Sour Soup

5.0 from 1 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 45 mins

Serves: 8


  • 800 gram salmon fillet, cut into 8 pieces
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 cups (2 liter) water
  • 50 gram shallot, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 inch galangal, thinly sliced
  • 5-15 bird eye chilies (Indonesian: cabe rawit)
  • 3 lemongrass (Indonesian: sereh), bruised and knotted
  • 2 Indonesian bay leaves (Indonesian: daun salam)
  • tamarind juice (1 teaspoon tamarind + 1 tablespoon water, mixed and strained)
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted shrimp paste (Indonesian: terasi bakar) (*)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder (Indonesian: bubuk kunyit)
  • 4 tomatoes, cut into cubes
  • 400 gram pineapple flesh, cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Indonesian sweet soy sauce (Indonesian: kecap manis)
  • Garnish
  • 1 bunch of Thai basil leaves (Indonesian: daun kemangi)
  • 1 bunch of scallions (Indonesian: daun bawang), thinly sliced
  • 1-2 limes, cut into wedges


  1. In a mixing bowl, marinate salmon pieces with juice of 1 lime and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside for 15 minutes. Washed and drained.
  2. Bring water to a boil in a soup pot. Add shallot, garlic, ginger, galangal, chilies, lemongrass, Indonesian bay leaves, tamarind juice, shrimp paste, and turmeric powder. Cover the lid, simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add salmon, tomato cubes, and pineapple chunks. Season with salt, sugar, and sweet soy sauce. Return to a boil. Turn the heat off once the fish is fully cooked. Adjust seasoning (salt/sugar/sweet soy sauce) as needed.
  4. Serve the soup hot with Thai basil leaves, thinly sliced scallions, and lime wedges.


  • (*) Can be substituted with 1 tablespoon fish sauce.


  • Husnul says:

    I'm From Indonesia, I realy like your Picture and recipe, I wanna try one day btw I will share your Picture and recipe on my website, you not mind ?

    • Anita says:

      Hi Husnul, I am happy that you are giving my recipe a try. But, please share your own photo and please rewrite the recipe with your own wordings and based on your own experience. Cheers.

  • Mark says:

    This sounds absolutely delicious. I'm going to attempt a vegetarian verison of this today, substituting tofu and sweet potato for the salmon, and vegetarian fish sauce for the shrimp paste. I will let you know how it turns out! :)

    • Mark says:

      So I made this yesterday! I used 400 g tofu (drained) and two medium American sweet potatoes (which I steamed for about five minutes first) instead of the salmon. It turned out incredibly delicious and was a hit with my significant other. Thank you for bringing a taste of far-off Palembang to North Carolina.

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