In the Kitchen

Saltfish Pickle

Saltfish Pickle


    • 200g salted kurau, soaked for one to two hours and cut into 2cm-thick pieces (Drain well on absorbent kitchen towel and dry in the sun for two hours or until completely dry)


    • 5cm ginger, ground
    • 5 cloves garlic, ground
    • 2 tbsp chilli paste
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1/4 tsp cumin powder (jintan putih)
    • 1/2 tsp fennel powder (jintan manis)
    • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
    • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds (biji sawi), fried without oil and pounded
    • 1/4 tsp fenugreek (halba), pounded
    • 5 shallots, sliced
    • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
    • 2 stalks curry leaves, use leaves only
    • 50ml good quality rice vinegar
    • 50ml tamarind juice (from 25g tamarind mixed with 100ml water)


    • 3 to 4 tbsp sugar or to taste
    • A pinch of salt or to taste


    Heat enough oil in a wok to deep-fry salted fish slices until golden brown. Drain well and set aside.

    Heat 4 tbsp oil and stir-fry sliced shallots and garlic until limp. Add mustard seeds, fenugreek and curry leaves and saute until fragrant. Add the rest of the spice ingredients and stir-fry well.

    Blend in vinegar, tamarind juice and sugar. Bring to a boil then simmer until gravy is thick and the oil has separated.

    Cool the gravy then stir in salted fish pieces. Add salt to taste. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds. Dish out and keep in clean, dry bottles.

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