This Thai-inspired dish is my mother’s favorite fish cuisine. She loves everything sweet, sour and spicy. We made use of instant tom yam paste for this dish.
Round scad or “ikan kembong” (in local language) is the most affordable type of seawater fish in this area. For USD 2.50 a kilo, we can get 6 pieces of fish. This type of fish is mostly deep-fried or pan-fried. I am yet to see it cooked any other way. Somehow it is always fried till dry – and cooked again with some spicy or sweet sauce. The meat is always a bit tough for me, but the delicious sauce covers it up.
Fresh spices is added in spite of the instant paste. Lemongrass, wild ginger flower buds and vietnamese mint rounds up the tom yam flavor, and bring it to another level.
2 stalks Wild Ginger Flower Buds or Torch Ginger (Bunga Kantan)
5 stalks lemongrass
200 gr instant tom yam paste
30 gr galangal
4 salam leaves
4 kaffir lime leaves
10 gr bird’s eye chili
1 cup loosely packed vietnamese mint / coriander
1/2 tablespoon sugar
2 cups water
500 gr (3 pcs) round scad / other type of fish
1 cup cooking oil for deep frying fish + 2 tablespoons cooking oil for stir frying spices
- Cut wild ginger flower buds into two halves, length wise. Remove the first couple of sheets of the lemongrass, cut off the top part – only use the first 5 inch of the stalks. Wash galangal (to be used whole)
- Wash the fish and cut off the heads. Pat dry
- Heat 1 cup cooking oil in pan. Deep fry fish till dry, about 3 – 4 minutes. Remove and pat dry of any excess oil
- Heat 2 tablespoons cooking oil in a wok / pan. Add lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, salam leaves, galangal and chili. Stir fry for 2 minutes
- Add tom yam paste and wild ginger flower buds. Cook for another 2 minutes
- Stir in water, vietnamese mint and sugar. Mix well
- Cover and simmer for 3 minutes
- Add fish. Stir well till coated with the sauce
- Serve with steamed rice
- Any type of fish can be used
- If a milder version is preferred, reduce the amount of the paste and the chili.
- Grill method can also be used instead of deep frying