Assam Fish Head – 阿叁鱼头

The assam curry uses  spices but made lighter and sourish with the addition of tamarind paste and pineapple. Fresh herbs like laksa leaves and torch ginger flower  heightens the flavours. The curry is light, spicy sour that goes well with a hot bowl of steaming rice. A little tip, you can make extra portion of the sambal and freeze. It keeps well in the freezer for 3 months. This reduces the prepping time for the next Assam Fish Head meal.

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  • Servings: 4

  • Time: 1 hr

  • Skill: Intermediate


  1. ½ large fish head (garoupa, threadfin or snapper)

  2. ¼ tsp salt

  3. ⅛ tsp pepper

  4. 100g pineapple (sliced)

  5. 600ml water

  6. 70g assam paste

  7. 6 ladies fingers (stalks trimmed)

  8. 1 tomato (cut into wedges)

  9. 5 sprigs laksa leaves

  10. ½ bulb torch ginger flower (sliced finely)

  11. ½ cube ikan bilis stock

  12. 2 tsp sugar

  13. Salt to taste

  14. 1 tbsp oil


  1. 6 fresh red chillies

  2. 4 dried red chillies (soaked)

  3. 2 lemongrass

  4. 15g galangal

  5. 20g turmeric

  6. 80g shallots

  7. 4 cloves garlic

  8. 1 tbsp fish curry powder

  9. 1 tsp toasted belacan

  10. ¼ cup oil


  1. Add all ingredients for the rempah to a food processor and blend into a smooth paste

  2. Mix 600ml water with 70g of assam paste. Strain and discard the seeds

  3. Heat 1 tbsp oil. Fry rempah until the oil separates from the paste

  4. Add in the pineapple slices, assam mixture and ½ cube ikan bilis stock

  5. Simmer for 10 minutes

  6. Clean fish head and pat dry

  7. Rub ¼ tsp salt and ⅛ tsp pepper

  8. Steam fish head for 10 minutes

  9. Add in tomatoes, laksa leaves and sliced torch ginger flower. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes

  10. Tumble in the lady fingers. Remove the laksa leaves

  11. Give a quick stir

  12. Once fish is steamed, discard excess steaming liquid from the plate

  13. Add assam gravy over the fish head

  14. Cover and steam fish head for another 10 minutes or until the eyes pop out. Serve immediately

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