jeudi, janvier 07, 2010

Sup Ikan Merah (Red Fish Soup)

Sup Ikan Merah

I have been thinking of the red fish soup that my Malay Nanny used to serve me when I was a child living with her. That was more than 30 years ago, but I could still see and taste it in my mind like it was yesterday. Except that I no longer speak Malay like I used to and I do not know how to get the recipe from her. She's past 80 now too. Meimei, maybe the next time you visit Mak you can try to ask her for it.

As far as I can remember, it was a clear, slightly acidic broth with a tinge of red in it. With pieces of red fish. Mak was an excellent cook (though there were days when we only ate Maggi Mee or bread with Planta magarine) and I had a much more carefree childhood living with her than I would have had if I had remained with my Chinese parents. I just played and played. The rat race only began when I returned home.


I made it this morning the way I imagined a Malay person would make it. The broth is not as clear, but then maybe it never has been. Could be due to the pinch of ground turmeric that I added to the soup. But the aroma spoke to me and told me that I was not far from Mak's Fish Soup. Still it would never be the same, because it would never be Mak's soup. It will never taste the same as the soup that a little girl ate more than 30 years ago.


Sup Ikan Merah (for 2 persons) :

200g Red Snapper filets (I substituted with Rouget barbet, can also use 1 whole red snapper or 500g whole rougets)
1 Lemongrass stalk (bashed and cut into 2)
1 piece Galangal
1 piece Ginger
1 big Garlic clove (finely sliced)
2 Kaffir Lime leaves (shredded)
1 Celery stalk (sliced)
1 Carrot (sliced)
1 Potato (cubed)
4-5 Cherry Tomatoes (quartered)
1 fresh Chilli (sliced)
500ml Hot fish stock
A pinch of ground Turmeric
Juice from 1 large lime
Salt to taste
Fried Onions/shallots
Fresh Coriander leaves

In a small soup pot, brown the garlic, lemongrass, ginger and galangal in a little oil till fragrant.

Add in the vegetables, chilli, lime leaves and pinch of ground turmeric.

Pour in the hot fish stock.

Gently add in the fish filets so as not to break them. If using a whole fish, chop into large pieces first.

Cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes. Squeeze in the lime juice and add salt to taste.

Garnish with fried shallots and fresh coriander leaves and serve it hot.

I will try another version another day, have been thinking of the 4 spices that the Malays usually use in their cooking : cinnamon, cloves, star anise and cardamom. I'm sure that fish soup made with them will yield an interesting taste (check out version 2).

2 commentaires:

Pris a dit…

What a coincidence! I just bought red snapper. Thing is over here, they only sell the fillet. How would you make your fish stock without any fish bones? Your photo looks amazing btw!

Beau Lotus a dit…

If you have an ikan bilis or any fish stock cube, use it.

Normally the whole fish would give you a good enough stock, but like you said, it's not easy to find over here.