Every Singaporean family has a version of this dish, too, and it does not matter if you are Chinese, Malay or Indian. Almost always used are pomfret, lady’s fingers (okra) and tomatoes.
I like ours a little more sour, and little less spicy. I have modified the preparation a little to make it easier to cook everything together and keep warm. Basically fried the spice paste first, and prepare the gravy, but instead of slipping the fish into the gravy to cook, I arrange them into a dish and either bake or steam the fish for around 15-20 minutes. If I have other stuff to bake, I bake the dish. If I have stuff to steam, they are steamed together. That way, everything is cooked together and the food is nice and warm to be served together. The stove is also cleaner.
2 medium sized pomfret
6 small lady's fingers (cut into 2.5cm lengths)
2 medium tomatoes (cut into wedges)
1 Tbsp cooking oil
1/2 Tbsp brown/palm sugar
1 lemon grass (white part only)
5 garlic cloves
5 small shallots
1 tbsp belachan
2 5-inch sized chilies
2 bird's eye chilies
2 Tbsp asam (tamarind)
1 cup water
- Fry the spice paste in the heated cooking oil on low heat until oil exudes.
- Add the sugar and fry till dissolved.
- Add the tamarind paste and bring to a boil, and then mix in the okra and bring to a boil again.
- Arrange the fish on a serving dish and pour the sauce over the fish. Arrange the tomato wedges on top.
- Bake or steam the dish over high heat for 15 minutes or until fish is cooked.
- Serve immediately with steamed white rice.