SOUR FISH STEW (PANGE IKAN PADANG)
This dish is a Sumatran version of the sour fish stews found all over Southeast Asia. Compare it with the Malay Hot Sour Fish; Thai Stir fried Sweet Shrimp and Chili- Hot Sour Soup; Cambodian Sour Chicken Soup; and Vietnamese Sour Fish Soup. The carambola used in this recipe are the small, smooth cooking variety of star fruit about the size and shape of avocados.
1 stalk lemongrass, bruised
8 whole small carambola, cut in half lengthwise or 2 small tomatoes, each cut into 4 wedges
Salt to taste
1 Â¼ -1 Â¾ lb (600-800 g) whole small freshwater fish (e.g. trout or pike) or saltwater fish (gurnard, King George whiting, bonito, sea perch), whole or cut into steaks
1 thick slice ginger root, bruised
Fresh lime juice to taste (the dish should be sour)
2 lemon basil leaves or 1 salam leaf, roughly chopped
4-6 medium-length red chilies, seeded and sliced
1-in (2 Â½-cm) piece galangal root, peeled and chopped
1-in (2 Â½-cm) piece turmeric root, peeled and chopped or 1/3 teaspoon ground turmeric
3 roasted candlenuts, or raw almonds or macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic
6 shallots, sliced
Grind the Spice Paste Ingredients to a paste. Put the paste in a wok or a pan with enough water to later cover the fish, add the lemongrass, carambola and salt and simmer into a tasty both. If you are using tomato instead of carambola add this toward the end. Add the fish pieces and the ginger and simmer gently over low heat, uncovered, until the fish is cooked. Do not stir this dish with a spoon as it cooks but shake the pan occasionally. Just before serving, add lime juice if necessary to achieve a good sour flavor. Remove the lemongrass and ginger and garnish with lemon basil leaves.