Javanese Fish in Soy Sauce

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

30 minutes

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.