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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Sweet & Tangy Chicken Curry (Malbi Ayam) ala Dentist Chef

sweet tangy chicken curry recipe

Sweet and Tangy Chicken Curry

Malbi is a sweet curry stew that consist a rich spice with a sweet and slighly tangy after taste.  Malbi is a herrtitage recipe from Palembang, South Sumatra Province in Indonesia. Malbi is similiar to Smoor (Dutch) or Semur (Indonesian) that usually made of beef. Slightly different with my Semur Daging Sapi (Indonesian Braised Beef Shank in Sweet Soy Sauce), Malbi contains  coconut milk and much more richer spice, while Semur is more peppery. Despite the common taste of malbi, i like it even more with rather peppery and tangy  aftertaste. The sweet taste comes from kecap manis or sweet soy sauce and palm sugar while the tangy or polite sour after taste comes from asam gelulur or dried sliced Garcinia atroviridis. You can replace the asam gelugur with tamarind paste or lime juice.

sweet chicken curry recipe

Sweet Chicken Curry in Thick and Rich Coconut Milk & Spices

Malbi ayam or chicken sweet and tangy curry cooking technique is similiar to Kalio (Brown Rendang or Stewed Beef in Spicy Brown Coconut Curry). The chicken is stewed or slow cooked with a constant gently stirring to prevent the spices burned out. Gently heat is needed to make the coconut milk got caramelized and formed a thick and oily broth. Just like other typical Indonesian dish, this sweet chicken curry is usually serve with a lot of deep fried sliced shallot and chopped spring onion.

resep malbi ayam kari ayam manis

Malbi Ayam Khas Palembang

I like to make sweet chicken curry with ayam kampung or malay chicken.  I like to cut the kampung chicken into  a bite size to reduce the cooking time.  Since the kampung chicken is leaner and rather though, you need about 1- 1.5 hours to make it tender and needed more if you cut it into regular size. If you using the regular chicken, it takes nothing more than 40 minutes.

sweet chicken curry indonesian chicken stew recipe

Sweet and Tangy Chicken Curry fron Indonesia


Sweet and tangy Chicken Recipe:

  • 1 kampung chicken (about 1 kg), cut into 20 section (bite size)
  • 2 daun salam (Indonesian bay leaves)
  • 2 sereh (lemongrass), bruised
  • 2 tbsp kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp gula merah (palm sugar)
  • 300 ml santan kelapa kental (thick coconut milk)
  • 2 slice asam gelugur *optional*
  • 1 tbsp kelapa sangrai (toasted and grounded coconut pulp) *optional*
  •  3 cm cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 cup  water
  • salt to taste

Sweet Chicken Curry Spice Paste Recipe:

  • 12 bawang merah (shallots)
  • 8 bawang putih (garlic)
  • 3 cabe merah (chillies) *optional*
  • 1 tbsp lada (white peppercorn)
  • 3 cm ginger
  • a pinch of fennel seed
  • a pinch of caraway seed


  • deep fried shallot
  •  chopped spring onion
  • cilantro leaves or flat leaves parsley


How to make sweet chicken curry :

  • Heat op oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan, saute the spice paste until fragrant
  • Add the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, star anise and coconut milk, continue to saute another 5 minutes
  • Add the chicken and the rest of ingredients, bring to boil
  • Simmer and continue stirring until the chicken is tender
  • Serve with garnish and steaming hot rice

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