Acar fish is a dish that can be found in most economical rice stalls In Penang. It was also a dish that our family ordered during that few occasions when we had our meals at such rice stalls. Anyway, we had no reasons to patronise economical rice stalls, because my mom used to be a full time housewife and our day-to-day meals were well taken care of.
It has been 15 years since I left Penang, and there are certain dishes from Penang that my mom can't cook, since she's not a Malaysian anyway, and acar fish is one of them. So it's only natural that I've completely forgotten about it, until my recent trip back to my hometown and I chanced upon a cookbook with a recipe of acar fish. I knew I have to get the book, even though this recipe seems to be the only one that I'm interested in!
So today, 3 months since my Penang trip, I have finally given the recipe a try. I had to wake up very early to cook, because acar fish is best eaten when it has been left for at least 5 hours, or overnight. It tasted pretty close to what I used to have, but still not perfect. I'll continue to look for a better recipe, but in the mean time, here's the recipe from the book.
Acar Fish Recipe
Adapted from Penang Nyonya A-Ma Secret Recipes
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt
Oil for pan-frying
80g turmeric, cut into shreds
40g ginger, cut into shreds
6 tablespoons sugar
10 garlic cloves, sliced
3 red chilies, sliced
3 green chilies, sliced
1) Marinate the fish with turmeric powder and salt for 1 hour. Heat up oil in a wok, pan-fry the fish until crispy. Dish out and leave to cool.
2) Leave 4 tablespoons of oil in the wok, saute turmeric, ginger and garlic until fragrant. Set aside.
3) Cook vinegar, water and sugar in a saucepan until boiled. Add red and green chilies and let it boil for another 1/2 minute. Remove from heat and leave to cool.
4) Place the fish in a serving dish. Combine the ingredients from step (2) and (3), then pour onto the fish. Leave aside for at least 5 hours or overnight. Serve with white rice.