Saturday, 8 February 2014

Singgang (clear asam)

Singgang (pronounced sing-gaang)  was a very humble dish, that can be prepared in a jiffy. Less hassle in terms of prep; and cooking time was pretty much short. Cleaning up was super easy too. 
No one knows the origin of this dish. The star ingredient of the dish is Tamarind juice. If no tamarind juice, you can forget about cooking this as there was no alternative. Its not as if you can replace it with lime or lemon juice as that will result in 'lost of DNA' or essence of the dish.
Multiple names:
Masak Singgang- Term used in Northern Malaysia like Pahang, Terengganu or Kelantan
Masak Pindang- Term used in Southern Malaysia like Melacca or Johor

In Singapore, the two names were used interchangeably, be it written or spoken.

Prep time: 10mins
Cook time: 15mins
Serves: 4 pax

1 medium Red Onions (julienne)
3 cloves Garlic (chopped)
Few slices of Ginger
1 Lemongrass (slit in long halves)
Few Bird Eye Chili (chili padi)
60gm Tamarind pulp soaked in 1 cup of water
Few finger size Okra (locally known as Ladyfinger)

One medium Sickle Fish 
Aka: Butterfish because of the tender buttery meat. In Malay- Ikan Tudung Periuk

Note: You may use any type of fish. In fact, this dish goes well with any type of seafood. Do try it with a combination of Prawns, Mussles and Flower crabs. I can tell you, it tastes super
 delicious. The sweetness of these fresh seafood was....Yummy!!

1) Boil the Tamarind juice, onion, garlic, chili, lemongrass, chili and ginger in a pot. 
2) Add salt and sugar to taste (not too much sugar, just enough to balance the sourness of the Tamarind juice)

3) Once boil, add in the fish and Okras. Let it simmer in low-medium heat for 10mins. 

NOTE: Gravy must be boiling before adding the fish. I've seen some cooks who will add the fish while waiting for the gravy to boil. They believed that once the gravy boils, the fish will be cooked at the same time. In fact, that resulted in broken and dry fish steaks. We don't want that. Remember, Fish doesn't require a long time to cook. It can even be eaten raw.
4) Switch off flame and cover pot. Let the heat cooked the fish for another 5mins.
5) Serves hot with white rice and Sambal Belacan as condiment. Enjoy!


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  1. This sounds more like asam pedas rather than singgang ?

  2. Sinigang. Thats the filipino name for the dish.

  3. ITs origin is from Tagalog dish of the Philippines known as Sinigang with almost the same ingredients as it is also using tamarind, the only difference is it has more vegetables. Shrimp or fish can be used such as milkfish or salmon but not both.