Fish Head Asam Laksa Recipe: Malaysian Spicy and Sour Noodle Soup with Grouper Fish Head

Asam Laksa Fish Head Recipe Malaysian Spicy Noodle Soup

Malaysian Asam Laksa Recipe: Spicy Noodle Soup with Grouper Fish Head

Asam laksa  from Malaysia is a sour, fish-based noodle soup. While Indonesian Beef Rendang is the World’s  most delicious foods complied by CNN Go in 2011, Malaysian  asam laksa is listed number 7  from 50 dish. Tamarind or asam (or asam jawa) which is commonly used to give the stock its sour flavor. Besides,  asam keping (also known as asam gelugur), dried slices of sour mangosteen, for added sourness. The modern Malay spelling is asam, though the spelling assam is still frequently used. This asam laksa tamarin-based broth soup  is similiar with Indonesia Pindang Tulang  from Palembang and Chinese  Hot and Sour Beef Soup  .

laksa asam fish head spicy noodle soup

Laksa is a spicy rice noodle soup from the Peranakan culinary, fusion of of Chinese and Malay (Melayu) descent found in Indonesia, Malaysia and also Singapore. Laksa derived from the Sanskrit lakshas (लकशस्) meaning “one hundred thousand” (lakh) and Hokkien Chinese word 辣沙 (Cantonese: [lɐ̀t.sáː]) as “dirty”  and “spicy sand” from the appearance and  the texture of the grounded dried prawns.

fish head asam laksa penang malaysia recipe

Fish Head Asam Laksa Recipe from Penang Malaysia

The main ingredients for asam laksa include shredded fish, usually ikan kembung or mackerel fish,but you can use any kind and also any part of the fish that you like. I’m using a giant grouper fish head, i’m using half of it for making  Woku Belanga Kepala Ikan Kerapu khas ManadoThe laksa asam topping and condiment is quite many, diced cucumber, finely sliced red onion, chopped red bird eye chillies, diced pineapple, lettuce, mint leaves, Vietnamese mint or daun laksa/daun kesum and pink torch gingerblossom(bunga kantan/kecombrang/honje). Authentic version always use daun laksa, either it won’t be laksa for my licking. Asam laksa is normally served with either thick rice noodles or thin rice noodles (vermicelli), but i’m using a low calories egg noodle for this recipe.

laksa leaves daun kesum vietnamese corriander leaves

Laksa Leaves,Daun Kesum, Vietnamese Corriander Leaves, Cambodian Mint from Kem Chick Supermarket

fish head asam laksa recipe malaysia

Resepi  Laksa Asam Pedas Kepala Ikan (Grouper Fish Head Asam Laksa Recipe)

There are two basic types of laksa: curry laksa and asam laksa. Curry laksa is a coconut curry soup with noodles, while asam laksa is a sour fish soup with noodles. Beside fish laksa curry, i love Laksa Ketam or Rice Noodle in Rich & Spicy Crab Curry Soup. Thick rice noodles also known as laksa noodles are most commonly used, although thin rice vermicelli (bee hoon or mee hoon) are also common and some variants use other types.

resep laksa malaysia fish head spicy soupSup kepala ikan asam pedas dengan mie beras maybe the best fish head laksa in Bahasa Indonesia translation. This kind of spicy, hot and also sour with a little touch of natural savoury and sweetness from the broth basic ingredients is a common preparation in Asia. I love everything if it’s got that trio flavour within one dish. Since everybody need and love carbs either it pasta or even noodle, i guess you should mix-match the ingredients. Instead of tamarind paste, you could replace it with vinegar or even lemon juice. You can experiment with the broth basic-flavour with chicken, beef, squid, shrimp or crab, what ever you like then. Beside using noodle, i love asam laksa served with japanese udon too.

Asam Laksa Fish Head Recipe :


  • 1 Garoupa/grouper  fish head (you can substitude with red snapper or any large fish head), cut into pieces
  • 1 pack rice noodle (i’m using low calories noodle), about 250 gr for 4 serving
  • 1 kaffir lime, juiced
  • 3 L water
  • 4 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Asam Laksa Spice Paste:

  • 12 shallots(bawang merah)
  • 6 cloves garlic(bawang putih)
  • 12 red chilli/ cayenne pepper(cabe merah)
  • 6 or more bird eye chili (cabe rawit)
  • 3 candlenuts (kemiri/buah keras)
  • 5 cm galagal (lengkuas)
  • 5 cm ginger (jahe)
  • 5 cm fresh turmeric (kunyit)
  • 4 stalks lemongrass, use only the soft white inner part (sereh/serai)
  • 1 tbsp shrimp paste (terasi/belacan)
  • 2 tbsp dried shrimp, soaked with warm water, toasted


  • Vietnamese mint leaves (daun laksa/daun kesum), roughly chopped
  • Mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • Red chilli pepper, finely chopped
  • 10 cherry tomato, halved
  • Torch ginger blossom (bunga kantan/ kecombrang/honje), thinly sliced

diced cucumber

  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • Calamansi lime, halved


  • Season the fish head with lime juice, salt and pepper, set aside

fish head for making laksa asam broth grouper

  • Heat up the oil in a sauce pan, saute the spice paste and the shrimp paste until throughtl cooked and fragrance
  • Pour the water and throw the tamarind paste, bring to boil
step by step asam laksa recipe how to make broth

step by step asam laksa recipe : boil the hot, sour and spicy broth

  • Add the fish head and bring it to boil again
how to make laksa asam penang fish head

step by step asam laksa recipe : boil the fish head and then simmer

  • Once it boil, discard any scum and foam that risen up above the broth
  • When the foam is not present, simmer the broth until the fish is completely cooked and the collagen is released for about 30- 45 minutes
  • Season the broth and adjust the taste
  • For serving, put the noodle in the bottom of the bowl, put the fish head above it and pour the broth.
  • Serve it with the garnish and condiments

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Resep Woku Ikan Belanga Khas Manado (Manadonese Spicy Fish Curry Soup)

resep woku ikan belanga goropa kerapu spicy fish soup

Resep Ikan Woku Belanga Khas Manado

Ikan woku belanga is a popular Menadonese dish from Minahasa descent people in Menado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Ikan means fish in bahasa, while  woku belanga means caypot cooked. There are two types of woku, woku daun and woku belanga. Woku daun or leaf woku is similiar to pepes ikan or leaf wrapped spiced  fish, while woku belanga is claypot cooked spiced fish that usually contain more liquid.  Woku belanga is not only made with fish, but also chicken, or even beef. Common fish for woku belanga is grass carp, tilapia, red snapper, skipjack tuna, grouper or goropa in Minahasanese language. The best ikan woku belanga using grouper fish called Ikang goropa woku belanga. Even mine was cooked in a wok-pan, but the simmering process may be the same in the claypot if you put the lid to cover up the fish.

resep woku belanga ikan kerapu grouper spicy curry

Kepala Ikan Kerapu Woku Belanga Khas Manado

Ikan woku belanga can be with or without addition of coconut milk, but if don’t just adjust the amount of the candlenut within your spice paste to get the same creamy taste. Ikan woku belanga is similiar to gulai ikan, but it contain less coconut milk. The other diffrence beetween ikan woku belanga and gulai ikan is the addion of pandan leaves and also lemon basil leaves on woku. Ikan woku belanga is using lemon cui/jeruk limau or calamansi limes, kaffir lime leaves and daun kemangi (balakama)  while gulai using kafir lime juice and also the leaves.

resep woku ikan kerapu belanga

Resep Ikan Woku Belanga Khas Menado

Manadonese food is typically  hot and spicy, lots of spice and chilli added, along with fragrance leaves and spice like turmeric leaves, ginger, spring onion and pandang leaves. Pandan leaves is a potent fragrance leaves that commonly added to Menadonese cuisine like Garo bunga pepaya(Stir Fry Smoked Skipjack Tuna withPapaya Blossom)iga sapi bakar bumbu rica-rica (grilled ribs with hot chilli sauce). You can tide up or thinly slice the pandan leaves before using it. Remember to watch the amount of the pandan leaves because it can easily overpowering the dish. Other fragrance ingredient that usually used in Menadonese cuisines is kaffir lime leaves, daun kemangi (lemon basil)  and lemongrass, diffrent from Padangnese cuisines like rendang, kalio or gulai, the kaffir lime leaves and the lemongrass is not discarded because it’s thinly sliced. Thats why you use  only the soft  white part of the lemongrass  into almost Menadonese cuisines recipe.

kepala ikan kerapu grouper fish head recipe

Kepala Ikan Kerapu or grouper fish head from Food Hall Supermarket

For this woku belanga, i’m using a giant grouper fish head thats why i should called this as Woku Belanga Kepala Ikan Kerapu. The fish head it was weighted about 2.6 kg and I1was so damn lucky to buy this fresh and meaty fish head on Food Hall Supermarket. It was tagged about 1 USD for a kilo, this is insanely cheap and possibly five times cheaper than the traditional fresh market price tag. I’m using only half of it and make Malaysian fish head assam laksa with the remaining.

Resep Ikan Woku Belanga khas Manado:

  • 1 kg grouper fish head or whole grouper fish (Ikan kerapu, you can replace with red snapper/ ikan kakap merah, ikan mas/grass carp fish or ikan mujair/tilapia)
  • 2 tbsp calamansi lime juice (you can replace with lemon juice)
  • 1 kaffir lime leaves (daun jeruk purut), deveined
  • 1 cup lemon basil leaf (daun kemangi)
  • 4 lemongrass (sereh),  take the soft white part only, thinly slice
  • 7 cm pandan leaf (daun pandan), tide up
  • 1/2 turmeric leaf (daun kunyit), tide up
  • 1 cup coconut milk (santan)
  • 2 cups water (air)
  • 1 tomato (tomat), diced
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil(minyak sayur)
  • salt  and pepper to taste
  • a pinch of sugar (gula)*optional

Resep Bumbu Ikan Woku Belanga Spice Paste Recipe:

  • 12 shallots (bawang merah)
  • 6 cloves garlic (bawang putih)
  • 6 cayenne pepper (cabe merah)
  • 6 or more bird eye chilli (cabe rawit)
  • 4 cm ginger (jahe)
  • 3 cm galagal (lengkuas)
  • 4 cm turmeric (kunyit)
  • 4 candlenuts (kemiri)


  • season the fish head with kalamansi limes juice, salt ang pepper, set aside
  • Heat up the 2 tbsp oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan, saute the spice paste with a low heat until the spice is throughly cooked. Visual aspect is the key! the oil is slowly separated and formed in the edge when it throughly cooked.
  • Add lemongrass, pandan leaves, turmeric leaves, kaffir lime leaves,  asam gelugur, tomato . Stir another minutes.
  • Pour the coconut oil and water, bring to boil.
  • Reduce the heat and cook until the coconut milk is throughly cook and adjust the taste, keep stirring
resep ikan woku belanga manado

Masukkan ikan kerapu ke dalam kuah bumbu woku belanga yg telah matang (Put the fish into the woku broth right after the seasoning throughly cooked)

  • Add the grouper fish hesd and simmer unti the fish is cooked, keep gently pouring the woku broth over and over again to the fish head to make it properly cooked and the spice is properly penetrated to the fish flesh.
  • Turn off the heat and put the lemon basil leaves

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