Resep Pepes Ikan Tempoyak (Banana Leaf Wrapped Spiced Fish with Fermented Durian Paste)

resep pepes tempoyak ikan pedas brengkes durian palembang

Pepes ikan tempoyak is a popular dish in across southern Sumatra. Pepes is an indonesian spiced dish that usually wrapped  with banana leaf. It possibly consist of chicken, fish, shrimp, tempeh, egg, frog or even tofu.  Pepes called Pais in West Java, Brengkesan in Center Java, Pelasan in West Java (Banyuwangi), Brengkes in South Sumatra.  Palai in West Sumatra, and Payeh in Aceh. Pepes can be steamed, broiled, grilled, or even baked, sometimes people like to steaming it first until throughly cooked and then drained and infused some smokey aromas by following grilling or broilling. The banana leaf wrapper remain the food moisture inside while giving some nice leafy scent too. Today i’m making pepes using ikan tapah (Wallago attu), a rather rare freshwater giant predatory catfish with some tangy fermented durian called tempoyak.

resep ikan tapah pepes tempoyak palembang

Pepes Ikan Tempoyak khas Palembang

ikan tapah wallago attu fish

Ikan Tapah (Wallago Attu)

ikan tapah gigi wallago attu fish teeth

Gigi Ikan Tapah (Walago Attu Teeth)

Ikan tapah (Wallago attu) got many name around the world, it is known as Boal and Borali in Bengal. Sareng in Manipur,  Valah in Malayalam, Mali In Pakistan, Nim Yue in China (Cantonese). Ikan Tapah is common called for wallago fish in  Indonesia and Malaysia, it’s originnaly from athe name of a Malaysian town, Tapah, where wallago fish is easily catch. Other known name of wallago fish is  Boal Fish, Mully Catfish, and Freshwater Shark due to its ferocity. This catfish can reached 2.4 meters long and weighted more than 50 kilos. The mouth of ikan tapah is fullfilled with several colonnade of gillette sharp teeth. Contrary to the ugly and scally looking, ikan tapah got a very sweet,  white and succulent meat. The best part of ikan tapah is actually the head because it’s mostly consist of collagen tissue and carlilageous-like bone.

pepes ikan tempoyak palembang banana leaf wrap fish

Resep Pepes Ikan Tempoyak, Banana Leaf Wrap Spiced Fish with Fermented Durian Paste

tempoyak duren fermented durian paste

Tempoyak Durian (Fermented Durian)

Tempoyak is a salted and fermented durian. It usually made from over ripe durian that is unsuitable for direct consumption. You can  made tempoyak by yourself, simply add about 3 tbsp coarsed salt to  about 500 grams over ripe durian flesh, then put it in a sterilized glass jar and let it fermented in a dark and cold place for about 7 days until it got a nice tangy flavour. Some local descent people like to eat tempoyak either cooked or uncooked. Tempoyak  eaten with rice, and can also be used for making gulai (curry), usually fish curry like my Gulai Tempoyak Ikan Belido. Tempoyak is usually served as Sambal Tempoyak, it’s a Sumatran dish made from the mixture of tempoyak, shallots and chilli pepper. Once you using tempoyak to flavouring your dish, don’t forget to watch over the saltiness level, you probably didn’t need any salt addition due the salt content of the tempoyak.

Resep Pepes Ikan Tempoyak :


  • 1 kg Ikan Tapah (You can substitude with tilapia, red snapper,mekong catfish, grass carp or any kind of fish), cut into single portion
  • banana leaf for wrapping the spiced fish, heated in direct flame to soften it
  • butcher twines for tide up the pepes ikan (i’m using the banana leaf fiber)
  • 100 gr Tempoyak (Fermented Durian Paste), you can replace with 100 gr fresh durian flesh and 2 tbsp lime juice
  • alumunium foil for wrapping the pepes ikan
  • 10 cherry tomato, halves
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • salt for taste
resep bumbu pepes tempoyak ikan palembang

Resep Bumbu Pepes Tempoyak khas Palembang

Bumbu pepes/ spice paste:

  • 50 gr red cayenne/chilli pepper (adjust the amount for your preference hotness)
  • 10 shallots
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 5 cm turmeric
  • 4 lemongrass, use  the soft white part only
  • 3 cm ginger
  • 3 cm  galagal


  • Preheat oven on 175 C
  • Season the fish with salt and lime juice, le it marinate for about 30 minutes on fridge
  • Mix the spice paste with tempoyak, cherry tomato, salt and sugar. (i add some turmeric powder too)

resep tempoyak duren pepes ikan pedas

  • Drain the fish and  mix it with the spice paste mixture until the fish is well coated

resep ikan tapah pepes tempoyak

  • Wrap the pepes ikan mixture with banana leaf
  • Tide the banana leaf  pepes ikan parcell with the butcher twine (or the banana leaf fiber)

resep pepes ikan tempoyak palembang

  • Wrap it with alumunium foil and bake it for about 45 minutes

resep ikan tapah pepes bumbu pedas

  • Keep it warm in the oven
  • Grill or broil it for about 5 minutes, open the peppes ikan banana parcel and served it immediately

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30 thoughts on “Resep Pepes Ikan Tempoyak (Banana Leaf Wrapped Spiced Fish with Fermented Durian Paste)

  1. You cannot imagine how lucky you are to have access to such fresh fish! I can only dream of any variety looking so fresh! The dish looks beautiful and delicious as always. I should really buy banana leaves one day… they sell them in huge packages here, so I need to make a list of many dishes using them before I do this 😉 Thanks for sharing this unusual recipe!

  2. Those toothy fish are so creepy. Hard to imagine the sweetness within! This recipe sounds lovely Dedy. Your spice paste sounds incredibly tasty, and that first photo is very inviting. I had a beautiful Taiwanese chicken dish recently, wrapped in banana leaves. As you say, this cooking method locks in so much moisture. Delicious!

  3. Your recipes are always so exotic Dedy! The teeth in that fish are enough to send me running, but I do love the flavourings you’ve used and grilling after baking is right up my taste alley. Very nice presentation too.

  4. I can image the smell that comes against me … when I open my parcel – fantastic .. and all the flavors and fantastic ingredients. The fish I’m not familiar with … but I’m sure I can use Atlantic cod if I want to do the dish. Fantastic post … and amazing job you done with it.

  5. I miss tempoyak. Have been trying to get from the supermarkets but they seldom sell it. Still I have not stopping searching, I love it with sambal belacan and I will love the pepes made with it. Awesomely delicious and tempting,

      • seep thank you triknya.. ntar kucoba pake aluminiumfoil.. biasanya kalu pake oven ku kecilin aja apinya, masaknya lama, jadi ga gosong deh daun bungkusnya, dikasih minyak juga tuh daun biar ga terlalu kering..

  6. This looks incredible! I love fish dishes wrapped in banana leaves – it gives the fish such a fantastic aroma and flavor. I have still not tried making it at home yet but if I do, I know I can stop by here for a wonderful recipe and step-by-step photos. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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