Assam Fish (Kembong/Mackerel)

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Ready : 50 mins [Prep : 10 mins † Cooking : 40 mins]
Serve :  4 with other dishes
Generic :  Steam/Boil/Simmer
Level :  Easy
Idle :  30 mins Printable Recipe.

Spicy Sour Tangy Distinctive Fish Dish

In the words of my teenage son; “Best in the world !!!“. Now, you tell me; is that a compliment or what ??? LoL The VianD rest its case ! (Shhh…, he really has not tasted that many version and believe me; there is countless version around! ..ha..ha). Drowning his plate of rice with the spicy, sour soup is the way he likes to consume this dish. And watching his face slowly turned slightly reddish (due to the spiciness) and tiny droplets of sweat appearing on his forehead is priceless..LoL. Here is an another version – done with Stingray, “Assam Pedas Stingray (Ikan Pari)” (click for recipe). Here’s The Viand’s interpretation of, “Assam Fish (Kembong/Mackerel)” which comes with clear clean soup.




  • Kembong Fish, Okra (Ladyfingers), Assam Chilli Paste, finely chopped Onion and Tomatoes.
    Season the Fish with some Salt. While U can leave the Fish head attach, The VainD like to separate it out and use it for the soup.
    Okra – cut to 2 inches long or if U have the smaller ones, keep it whole.
    The Onion and Tomatoes are optional but The VianD add these to help elevates the Assam soup flavors. Finely chopped to help cooking time.
    This pre-mixed Assam paste is as authentic/good as any. U should be able to get it from most wet-market. Of course, U can blend your own paste, if U so choose.


  • Salt, Sugar. All to taste. *** Note : Just dash of everything, if U prefer a stronger intensity of an ingredient flavor, simply add a little extra of that ingredient/spice/sauce – no rocket scientific measurement here. Always taste your Seasoning !!!



  • Step 1 : Sauté the chopped Tomatoes and Onions with some chopped Garlic till aromatic and soften.
    The oil from the Tomatoes will give U that gorgeous looking reddish color while the Onion will provide some sweetness.
  • Step 2 : Add the Assam paste, mix well and sauté till oil separates and rises to the top.
  • Step 3 : Add water, the fish heads and bring to boil and then simmer for abt 30 mins or till everything kinda soften/disintegrate, especially the Fish head. This will give U great flavor.
    At this point, taste the soup, U can now add a little extra Tamarind paste water (for sourness) or some Chili paste for heat.
  • Step 4 : Meanwhile, pre-steamed both the Kembong Fish and Okra for abt 10 mins.
    While U can simply add the Fish and Okra into the soup and boil together, The VianD like to do it separately by steaming – to ensure not overcooking. This way, the Fish will retain its natural flavor and the Okra remain slightly crunchy in texture.

  • Step 5 : When the soup is done, sieve it !!!This is very very important, as it will give U that nice clean and clear soup.
  • Step 6 : Reboil the soup. Add ur seasoning of Salt and Sugar. Take it off the heat and add the Okra and Kembong Fish and your pot of “Assam Fish” is ready. Serve it piping hot with plain rice !!! Some freshly slice Cucumber would be nice too.

Copyright © 2014 The VianD · All Rights Reserved

2 Comments Add yours

  1. jojo61swl says:

    This dish looks ‘mouth-watering’.. Interested to try cooking this dish. Can I know where I can get the assam chilli paste?


    1. theviandd says:

      Got it from SS2, PJ wet market


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