Perut Ikan

by - July 17, 2017

Perut ikan means “fish stomach” in Malay. This is a Penang Nyonya dish.

It was one of my late mother’s favourite dishes. When I was young, my mother would take my sister and me with her to pick the daun kaduk (wild pepper leaf) at the neighbour’s house. She would use it for this dish and the next day, we would have the perut ikan for dinner. I never did like the fish stomach itself so I simply used mackerel fish as a substitute.


Spices paste (blended in electric blender):
1 tbsp chilli boh
5 red chilli
4 cm fresh turmeric
2 stalks lemongrass
120g / 12 shallots
8cm galangal (lengkuas)
2 tsp belachan powder

50g tamarind pulp
300ml water

60g long beans, cut into 2.5 cm lengths
2 medium brinjal, cut into 2.5 cm cubes
¼ pineapple, cut into 2.5 cm cubes
2 - 3 ikan kembung (mackerel fish)
250g small prawns, shell removed

Herbs (finely sliced):
30 - 40 daun kaduk (wild pepper leaf)
1 ginger flower (bunga kantan)
10 kaffir lime leaves
10 springs daun kesom (polygonum/vietnamese mint/laksa leaf)
5 cekur leaves (optional)
2 turmeric leaf

Lime juice from 1 lime
2 tbsp brown sugar or to taste
1 ½ tsp salt or to taste


  1. Boil ikan kembung (fish) in 750 ml water for 10 to 15 mins. Strain fish, leave to cool before removing the flesh. Keep aside the flakes of fish. Reserve the fish stock for later use.
  2. Mix the tamarind pulp with water and strain, reserving only the juice.
  3. Heat 4 tablespoons of cooking oil in the wok. Sauté the spices paste over a medium heat until fragrant then add the tamarind juice. Bring mixture to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer for few minutes.
  4. Add the prawns and allow mixture to come to a boil again.
  5. Slowly add in all the vegetables, herbs, fish flakes and then the fish stock. Salt and sugar to taste. 6.  Let it simmer for another 20 to 30 minutes. If it gets dry you may add in a little water.
  6. This dish is best left in the pot overnight and served the next day. It will allow the flavours to fully develop.
  7. Simply reheat when ready to eat. Serve hot with steamed rice.

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