Thursday 4 October 2012

Acar Ikan (Terengganu)/Mackerel with Spicy Pickles

Pan fried mackerel is a favourite at home in my growing up years. My grandmother who cooked dinner daily had this on the dining table very often. I enjoy the crispy fish so much that when I was ten years old, I gobbled down the fish so quickly that I swallowed a 2 cm long bone which was lodged in the throat. My mother had to take me to a specialist to pull out the bone and that was quite expensive.  Even after that incident, I still love fried mackerel though I do eat all types of fish a lot more carefully!

When I saw this Terengganu dish, I was happy because it is easy enough for me to do for Malaysian Food Fest’s Terengganu Month. The chilli in the recipe is grounded and uses chilli padi as well. I am not sure if I can handle a dish that is too spicy so I sliced the chillis instead and omitted the chilli padi. I also added in some pineapples as I thought that would go quite well. The sauce turned out very delicious as the turmeric’s peppery taste went well together with the spiciness from the chillis. With the additional pineapples, the sauce turned out very refreshing and delicious with the mackerel. Even my 5 year old daughter had a serving of the sauce over her rice! The best part is, it’s fairly easy to make.

Acar Ikan (serves 10) 
Recipe from Chef Rossham Rusli for
  • 1 kg mackerel, cut into 2 cm slices
  • 1 tsp salt (for marinating)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder (for marinating)
  • 5 pips garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 inch old ginger, sliced and julienned
  • 3 red chillies, ground (I sliced them)
  • 3 green chillies, ground (I sliced them)
  • 2 green cili padi (omitted)
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 litre water
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • salt to taste
  • A handful of fresh pineapple (my own addition)
  • Wash and clean the fish. Then marinate with salt and turmeric powder.
  • Deep-fry until golden brown and cooked. Set aside.
  • To make sauce, heat some oil in wok. Stir fry garlic and ginger till fragrant.
  • Mix the turmeric power with the sugar, water, fish sauce and vinegar.
  • Add in ground/sliced chilli to the pan followed by the turmeric powder mixture.
  • Add in pineapples and simmer for 8 minutes.
  • Season with salt.
  • Lastly, pour onto the fish before serving.

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