This unusual Javanese dish has a delicious, delicate flavour. Cod or haddock steaks may be used and the dish is excellent served with boiled rice and a salad of bean sprouts and raw carrot.
1 walnut-sized piece of tamarind soaked in
4 fl. ‘oz. water for
4 fish steaks, either cod, haddock or any other firm white fish
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 green chilli, finely chopped
½ inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon trasi or anchovy paste
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
With your fingertips, squeeze the tamar-ind in the water. Pour it through a strainer into a cup, pressing as much of the pulp through the strainer as possible. Discard the fibrous pod. Pour the liquid into a shallow dish.
Place the fish steaks in the dish and marinate them for 1 hour, turning once.
Remove the fish steaks from the marinade and dry them with kitchen paper towels. Reserve the marinade.
In a large deep frying-pan, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Add the fish steaks and fry them for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
Transfer the fish steaks from the pan to a plate and set aside.
Add the onion, garlic, chilli, ginger and trasi or anchovy paste to the pan and fry them, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.
Add the reserved marinade, soy sauce, sugar and salt. Stir well and return the fish to the pan. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the fish is cooked and flakes easily when tested with a fork.
Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the fish steaks to a warmed serving dish. Pour the sauce over them and serve at once.