By: Jack Lato
Goldfish make excellent pets. They don’t scratch your furniture, poo on your carpet or steal your food. In Indonesia however, animals only become pets when they are absolutely inedible. Ikan mas are therefore commonly wrapped up in banana leaves and end up on a plate. Ikan mas are in fact common carp, not the goldfish you keep in aquariums. Still, many a tourist gasps in horror when opening up the banana leaf parcel and seeing that so familiar brightly colored fish, steamed and ready to eat.
Overcome your petty associations though and you will notice that ikan mas are quite enak (tasty)! Delicious and aromatic,this dish is fantastic to serve family and friends. Opening the banana leaves is almost like opening a present. You can of course also use other fish, such as tuna, cod, trout and so on.
Pepes Ikan Recipe
Half a kilogram of fish
5-7 cloves of garlic.
1 candlenut fruit
2 thumbs of turmeric
2 cm ginger
Chopped onion leaf 0,5 – 1 cm long
A tomato, chopped into at least 6 to 10 slices, to easily wrap it later
2-3 salam leaves (daun salam), kemangi (a kind of basil)
One piece of long lemongrass
A spoon of sugar, a small pinchof salt and a spoonful of lime juice
How to Make Pepes Ikan
1. Remove scales as well as internal part of fish; mark the skin slightly with knife, but keep it intact without breaking the bone.
2. Grind the main ingredients in a mortar and pestle.
3. Mix the finely pounded main ingredients with the additional ingredients excluding the kemangi and tomato.
4. Smear the fish with the bumbu (mixture of spices), tear the daun salam and put them inside the fish.
5. Wrap the fish tightly in a banana leaf and close off with a toothpick. Make sure the fish and bumbu is sealed off completely so the parcels don’t leak. Don’t forget to add the kemangi and tomato slices as well as the shattered lemongrass.
6. Steam the wrapped fish for at least 30 minutes until cooked.
7. Burned the ripe wrapped fish on small fire stove, flipping it up and down and taking it out when its aromatic smell emerges.
8. Serve it for your family.
Some people prefer to serve pepes ikan with sambal, a pasty sauce made of a pinch of salt, 7 – 10 chilies. Grind the chilis and salt with two or more tomatoes to make your own sambal.