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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
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

Pindang Salmon - Salmon in Spicy and Sour Soup

5.0 from 7 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 45 mins

Serves: 8

Print Recipe


  • 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.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen


  • Husnul 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 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 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 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.

  • Sophie Goel Sophie Goel says:

    This sounds delicious and cozy! I love a good, spicy soup.

  • Noelle Noelle says:

    Never tried a recipe like this with salmon! Yum, can't wait to make again

  • Taylor Kiser Taylor Kiser says:

    Oh, this looks so comforting and delicious! I can't wait to try it!

  • Erika Erika says:

    I've never thought of using salmon in soup, but this looks great. I love spicy too!

  • Michelle Michelle says:

    Such a unique recipe. I love the broth.

  • Milky Milky says:

    Behold the laziest, most Americanized version of pindang salmon soup. I made SO many substitutions, but since the spices were pretty much unchanged, it still resulted in a flavorful, tangy fish dish! Basically, I'm a fan of sour-ish soups, like Thai tom yum or Filipino sinigang, so this recipe is a winner in my book.

    Sadly, I worked with what I had on-hand, which meant I used a can of pineapple chunks and a can of diced tomato (which I rinsed so the soup didn't turn into marinara, haha) as well as red onion for shallots. I might have also used a lemon instead of a lime... So basically... I don't know if I can qualify as "following the recipe" anymore!

    Regardless, it was spicy and invigorating (an attempt at recreating the warm tropics for the cold, northern latitudes, if you will) and complemented the salmon well. Someday I hope I can revisit this with fresher ingredients, but in the meantime, I'm still impressed with the results and not a drop went to waste.

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