Tuna is locally known as ikan tongkol, ikan aya or ikan kayu, depending on which state you are in.
It’s a budget friendly fish and my fish being at almost 1kg before cleaning is sold at RM8/kg.
Gulai ikan tongkol is usually eaten with nasi dagang, or the other way round, whichever way, LOL.
It is different from Kelantan’s version. From what I remember, Kelantan’s version is more yellowish, tasting slightly more “curry like” maybe due to its turmeric content. Whereas Terengganu’s version is more “assam”, as in sour.
Whenever I travel to Kuala Terengganu, I will try my best to have my Nasi Dagang fix at Kak Pah’s located at Pantai Batu Burok. It was where I had my first Nasi Dagang. 7 of us having breakfast with 21 plates on the table. Each person were given 1 plate of rice, 1 plate of fish, 1 plate of pickled vegetables, so, you can do the maths. Whole table filled with plates! It was a funny sight asking around, is this mine, is this yours… LOL. Kak Pah’s rice has this boing boing texture that I find hard to forget. It taste like eating Bario rice. And her gulai ikan tongkol is very nice, spicy and sourish.. perfect pairing with the tacky rice. The sourness raises the appetite and decreases the cloying effect of coconut milk infused sticky rice. I loved it sooo much that I drank all the gravy. When I came back from my trip, I happened to see a Nasi Dagang Terengganu recipe featured in the Star. I quickly cut it out and kept it, but it’s at my mom’s house. I didn’t go home to get it for this blog post.
On my 5th trip to Terengganu, I introduced this dish to my then boyfriend (now husband). Maybe he was tired from the whole East Coast trip and sleeping on foreign beds, so he didn’t think too much of the rice. But when I cooked it this time, only did he really taste the gulai, the rice and gave me good feedback. And my MIL said, “We could’ve made this for Reuben’s birthday the other day. It’s special and nice.”
I don’t want to comment too much on my take on this, but I can say, I can be proud of myself.
|All ready for Step #5 onwards|
It's a usual practise to buy the ready mixed spice for gulai ikan tongkol, but since it's only easily available in Terengganu, it'll be hard for others to replicate it at home. And I found this recipe suppposedly from a royal cook for the Terengganu Sultanate that uses a ratio of 2:1 of coriander seeds to fennel seeds, so I made my own spice mix with this given ratio.
My gulai also looked very red due to the chilli oil all floating to the top. My dried chillies are rather red and spicy. I like to purchase from once certain shop only because dried chillies bought at other places aren't as intense, colour and flavour wise. It's my fault that my coconut milk released too much oil, but the colour is indeed attractive :)
Terengganu Fish Curry (Gulai Ikan Aya Terengganu)
Sourced with adaptations: Noor Masri
*DIY Spice mix ratio referred from here
10gm asam gelugor (or replace with tamarind paste, but use more until the broth taste sourish)
*2 Tbsp coriander seeds
*1 Tbsp fennel seeds
2. Boil the water with asam gelugor and put in fish. Let it simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
3. Lightly toast coriander seed and fennel seed in wok and then mill them finely.
4. Mill chilli, shallots, garlic, galangal and ginger together into a paste.
6. Put in coconut milk and cook until the mixture comes to a boil (it might ooze some oil).
8. Put in fish pieces and bring back to a boil. Put in chilli and belimbi and turn off the heat.
Recipe for nasi dagang, Terengganu style, please refer here
I am submitting this to Malaysian Food Fest, Terengganu Month hosted by Lena of Frozen Wings