Acar Ikan

A low-salt, low-fat, low-purine and low-everything diet is one that is as tasteless as chewing on a piece of tree bark. After one month on such diet, I am beginning to crave for all the sinfully mouth-watering hawker food. Give me my hokkien mee and char koay teow, and nasi kandar with lots of greasy gravy and mutton kurma, fried fish roe and curried cuttlefish. How can such delicious grub be so unhealthy to the body?

Am I losing it? If I am not now, I am on my way, especially when I look at this photo of acar ikan (pickled fish) that Wuan made. The fish was fried and then pickled in turmeric oil, sugar, red chilli, rice vinegar, shredded ginger and sliced garlic, both which were browned in hot oil earlier. Sometimes, sliced cucumber is added for pickling too. Wuan made it just the right taste. It was piquant, slightly sweet and very nice. The recipe usually calls for ikan belanak to be used, which is also one of Wuan’s favourite. It is pickled whole. I prefer sliced fish as there are fewer bones. I am a lazy eater.

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

4 thoughts on “Acar Ikan”

  1. Hmmm….. that sure brings back memories 4 me. But it feels like 10 lifetimes ago that I’d cooked this 4 my family. :o((

  2. James,
    Here is the recipe. This is a variation of the one found in The Star’s Nyonya Flavours Recipe Book which was blogged here.

    We do not need to be a rocket scientist to cook. So you may add a bit more of some ingredients while reducing some according to your own taste.

    Acar Ikan

    300g fish, sliced fish or ikan belanak
    2 tsp fine salt
    oil, for frying

    2 inch portion of fresh turmeric, sliced thinly
    4 tbsp oil

    1 bulb garlic, sliced thinly
    100g young ginger, shredded
    2 red chillies, seeded and quartered
    2 green chillies, seeded and quartered

    150ml rice vinegar
    4 tbsp granulated sugar, or to taste
    salt, to taste

    Clean sliced fish and season with salt. If using ikan belanak, scale, gut, clean and then season with salt. Deep fry until golden. Drain on paper towel.

    Fry turmeric in oil until the turmeric colour is absorbed into the oil. Discard the turmeric. Fry garlic and ginger in the oil until golden brown.

    Leave aside and let oil cool. Then add vinegar, red and green chillies, sugar and salt.

    Add fish and pickle for two or three days in a glass bowl. Turn fish to ensure that all sides are soaked in the vinegar.

  3. Pauline,
    You can start cooking again. I would love to have a taste of your cooking.

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