New Recipes

Perut Ikan Recipe (Nyonya Pickled Fish Stomach Curry)


Recipe: Perut Ikan (Nyonya Preserved Fish Stomach with Herbs and Vegetables Curry)

Spice paste
1 stalk lemongrass
6 shallots
8 dried red chilies
3 slices of galangal
1 inch of turmeric
1 tablespoon of roasted belacan
3 tablespoons of coriander seeds
6 pieces of fermented fish stomach
10 green beans (cut into 2 inches length)
1 egg plant (cut into small wedges)
1 small ripe pineapple (cut into 2 inches sticks)
1/2 lb small shrimp
5 chilies (slit and cut into 2 inches length)
1 ginger flower (sliced finely)
10 kaffir lime leaves (sliced finely)
30 daun kadok leaves (sliced finely)
20 sprigs polygonum leaves (use only the leaves)
20 sprigs of mint leaves (use only the leaves)
1 cup coconut milk

Tamarind Juice

Mix tamarind pulp (about the size of a small ping pong ball) with warm water, soak for 15 minutes and extract the juice.


Blend the spice paste with the a food processor, set aside. Heat up some oil in the wok and sauté the spice paste until fragrant. Add in the pickled fish stomach pieces and stir well with the spice paste. Add in 5 cups of water and bring it to boil and toss in the long beans, pineapples, egg plant, ginger flower, and red chilies. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add in the coconut milk, small shrimp and the herbs and simmer for another 15 minutes. Add salt to taste. Serve hot.

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58 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Anonymous

    I went to Hai Nan Restaurant in Penang and tried their perut ikan, it was very bad. The whole thing looked dark and purple very unappetizing. Yours look very good.

    • Joyce

      I totally agree with you. The taste is not perut ikan at all. very very amateur cook. Have you tried the otak otak. I give only 55.5% passing rate. Very disappointing esp when you travelled all the way for some authentic nyonya dishes.

  2. UnkaLeong

    “Hunkalok” hahah…I guess that’s what you call it as well. Mom does not cook Perut Ikan, but she uses the leaves to wrap the Otak-otak that she cooks every now and then.

    *uses Kleenex to wipe drool of monitor.

  3. Stephanie

    It’s funny, isn’t it… with kitchen wisdom it’s like there’s a changing of the guard. At Christmas I cooked the family Christmas pudding (with my mother’s supervision) for the first time. … but there’s so much more I want to learn from her, especially about how to cook the offal dishes I loved as a child … brains and tongue especially. …

  4. Passionate Eater

    I am sure that your aunt must be so proud of how the little Rasa Malaysia has grown into an adult, and has matured and developed her own amazing cooking skills.

  5. Rasa Malaysia

    MQ – please feel free to link me…you need not ask. :)

    Budding Cook – yes, my eyes were wet when I think of my aging parents and aunt. Cry cry…sob sob. :(

  6. Rasa Malaysia

    Anonymous – you are so right. All the perut ikan served in restaurants are bad…very unappetizing looking. Unlike mine…eeerrr, my aunt’s…:P

    Lyrical lemongrass – have you tried perut ikan before? Not many Malaysians have tried this though.

    Unka – yeah, daun kadok for otak-otak….that’s why I never attempt to cook otak2 here because can’t find the leaves…must smuggle the seeds into the US sometimes (ooops, I hope no one from the US immigration department reads my blog!). ;)

    Stephanie – I totally agree…the more you learn, the more you know what you do not know (which is a long laundry list!).

    PE – yes, I told my parents and my aunt about my blog but they don’t really get Internet you see, but my eagerness to learn their cookings brought big smiles to their faces and that was priceless!!! :) :)

  7. tigerfish

    I also never seen or tried this dish before. But I can never turn down a curry dish :)
    Where you get the fermented fish stomach from? And also all these exotics – daun kadok, polygonum?

  8. Precious Pea

    Never eaten perut ikan before so I have no idea how it taste like. But your pot of fiery-looking nyonya curry with lots of floating veggies is enuff for me to go with 1 big plates of rice.

  9. leonard

    RM, thanks for sharing another classic nyonya dish. I’ve tasted loads of perut ikan during my childhood days in Penang and Alor Star.


  10. team BSG

    haha finally u have done it !
    de mysterious Pg xtra aromatic dish our BSG Pg chef is so fond of and cooks every 2 or 3 months to rave reviews and slurrps !
    Yr version looks more fresh colored and so we have to await a final tongue and nose session countdown…soon ! TQ

  11. Audrey Cooks

    Hahaha didn’t waste anytime did ya? Aiyo so yummylicious… tedious work slicing those veg. Welcome back!

  12. lucia

    i like perut ikan but not some of the vegies that goes into it. or course i know this will be no problem if i prepare it myself – get to choose what vegie to put in but since i don’t cook, so naturally i took it in restaurants or other people’s place.

    i like the gravy very much.

  13. Chubbypanda

    Hmmm… Fish innard always worry me a little. Fish eat worms. We eat their innards. We eat worms?

    Yet, I have no problems eating small fish, like shisamo, whole. Odd…

  14. Wandering Chopsticks

    What did that fish stomach look like before you cooked it? Is it the same as the dried fish maw I put in soups?

    Looks mouthwatering. I love the purple of the eggplant.

  15. teckiee

    OMG! MY FAV!!!!!!!!!! Look so pretty somemore! The one I cook all…eekk geli!

    I love the daun kaduk… my mom called it lengkalok..i think thats in hokien.

  16. Vero (C.Metisse)

    Not weird to me!!
    Now the thought of it is going to “set my stomach rumbling and my mouth watering” too!!
    Now, you put me into this, the least you can do is find a way so I can taste your Aunt’s Ikan!!! hahaha!

  17. Tummythoz

    The curry gravy sounds & look fantabulous but perut ikan, never tasted it. I’m quite particular towards fishy smells, so over the years this dish is an auto no-no to me. Does it taste anything like the acquired taste cincaluk? *Blek* to me that is.

  18. Timothy

    Hey there.

    This is my first visit to your site and I am impressed by your efforts. Your recipes would really come in handy to those who wants to try recreating those deliciously looking dishes. I would hope I can supply recipes to those I post, but I can’t cook to save my life .. hence ….

    Anyway, love your work and if you don’t mind .. I am linking to your site.


  19. Rasa Malaysia

    SC – You must try!

    Tiga – I cooked this dish when I was in Penang. (No, I didn’t smuggle any perut ikan back!). You can’t find any daun kadok here but the polygonum, you can find it here in Vietnamese market.

    WMW – oooh, you don’t eat fish, now I remember. :P

    Precious Pea – Perut ikan is very very good and goes very well with rice. It’s unlike any curry you have ever had, really. Must try!

    Leonard – oooh, that’s great. I think only Northern Malaysians in Penang and Kedah knows about this dish. It’s so good, isn’t it?

    BSG – indeed slurpilicious. ;)

    Audrey – I didn’t cut the veggie, my aunt cut them for me since I didn’t really have to learn how to cut those veggie and herbs…hehe. :P

    Kok – yeah, I am thinking to start a private kitchen business or be a personal chef for celebrity…yeah, I can cook up a big pot for everyone. ;)

    Lucia – you are EXACTLY like me. I do not like all the vegetables…in fact, I just like daun kadok in this case so I always pick out the daun kaduk and shrimp and slurp the curry…sooooo yummy!

    CP – The fish innards are more for flavoring purposes…I do not eat them.

    Wandering Chopstix – I didn’t take any pictures unfortunately, they don’t look too appetizing, kinda greyish color. As I mentioned above to CP, it’s for flavoring purposes actually.

    Teckiee – oooh, right on, my favorite too. Is your mother Nyonya too? Yeah, it’s called Lengkalok, in Hokkien Malay…lol!

    Vero – OK, I am faxing some to you ASAP… ;)

    Tummythoz – the curry really doesn’t taste fishy at all…if anything, it tastes less stinky than cincaluk. I do not eat the fish stomach, but the curry tastes heavenly you must try.

    Timothy – welcome and thanks for your nice comment. Of course you can link to me…the more the merrier. Thank you. :)

  20. Kenny Mah

    I love Nyonya food (from Malacca myself; 1/8th Peranakan to boot) but never had perut ikan before. Now gotta try this the next time I head back to my hometown. (Don’t trust the Nyonya restaurants here in Klang Valley lah…)

  21. christine

    I’m so happy to have found your site! I went to Sabah last month (KK) and I’ve become enamored with Malaysian cooking. So you can count on me to be your new stalker. :)

    But more importantly, how did you lose 40 lbs in 2 months?! And you surely don’t look like you needed to.

  22. christine

    Ok sorry,I’m back after I picked myself up from the floor where I had fallen over from laughing. That was an ad, and not a statement from you. Brainfart!! :D

  23. Lao Cha - JHL

    I love Perut Ikan so much, thanks for the recipe !! And just wanted to tell u that ur blog is very good and i love it so much.. will try to cook some malaysian food for my future in-law family, i think they will love it!! Thanks and keep up ur good work !!salute to u !!

  24. Kama


    The first food blog I ever visited was Chocolate & Zucchini where I really enjoyed the site and especially the content, the way Ms Dussolier write is really enchanting. I have been a frequent visitor there ever since.

    I must say that your site and writing evoke exactly the same feeling in me, your passion for this blog and cooking really comes through. The layout is gorgeous and pictures fantastic. I’ve visited many times before (and will continue to do so, of course) and this is the first time I’ve commented anywhere ever. I’m very impressed. Keep up the good work.

  25. Rasa Malaysia

    Kenny – hey, 1/8 Peranakan, very cool. I don’t trust the Nyonya restaurants in Penang either…they are not very good. :P

    Christine – Thanks and welcome. You are too funny. That ad has been popping up on my site again even though I have disabled it…don’t know why?!

    Claude – if I don’t tell you, you would never know what’s inside the curry. ;)

    Lau Cha – thanks for your kind comment. Welcome and happy cooking Malaysian food. :)

    Kama – I am truly speechless. It’s an honor to receive your first comment ever. Thank you so much for your encouraging words, really. I only hope that one day I will be as successful as Miss Dussolier and make my family really proud.

  26. Anonymous

    hi, i really like your blog. love your perut ikan picture. it looks nice and yummy. can you tell me how to get all kind of leaves for perut ikan and the perut ikan. i am living in new jersey. thank you.

  27. Rasa Malaysia

    Anonymous – Thanks for your kind words. Unfortunately, it’s hard to prepare this dish in the US because I believe we can’t find daun kaduk and ginger flower here in the US. Most importantly, you can’t find the preserved fish stomach here either.

    I made this dish when I was home in Penang. I will make another classic Nyonya dish which is possible to make here…please stay tuned for my future post. :)

  28. Ming_the_Merciless

    Oh my!! That looks delicious. Give me a bowl of white rice and the fish stew and I’m a happy boy.

  29. Ling

    This is a difficult dish to make man. Miss one ingredient and the whole thing will taste funny. My grandma’s perut ikan is the best (for me) and she always whip it up for me whenever we go visit her. Awesome!

    I haven’t tried making it. Very tempted but let me try making Laksa first. see how I fair. LOL.

  30. LiQ

    OMG PERUT IKAN!!!! I LOVE THIS!!! Sadly I live in Sarawak now and no idea where to get the perut here…my grandma and mom used to make fabulous versions of this when I was at home…
    Am thinking to introduce my hubby to this dish…he will prob go EEEK but I am not planning to tell him abt the perut…:PP

  31. Anonymous

    how does one cook perut ikan in the USA? There are many missing ingredients, such as ‘perut ikan’, bunga kantan, etc. Does anyone has any idea where we can get the ingredients? I am trying to locate a place that sells the bunga kantan plant as well as the pandan plant.

  32. Anonymous

    Iv never had or heard of curry perut ikan before. If i can find perut ikan, im sure gonna try your curry perut ikan recipe.

  33. Anonymous

    This is an interesting variant of the perut ikan I know (I’m from Ipoh). We don’t have santan in ours. It’s mostly hot and sour, and everything’s boiled for a long long time, hence the brownish look. This looks unappetising to some people, but it’s mightily delicious and that’s how I’ve always known it.

  34. Carina Ong

    Hello to those who have no idea of how to get salted perut ikan ,very easy lah, just reserve d fish stomach when u buy fish. Clean it throughly in and out, then dry it with kitchen towel. Mix it with lots of rough salt and put it in an air tight bottle . Marinate till it gives out a nice fragrant before u use it for yr perut ikan curry.(1 mth. or so) Remember 2 wash off d salt before use. Enjoy yr perut ikan kari.
    From Penang

  35. May

    Thank you for such a wonderful website, I absolutely loved it. I had a perut ikan dish in Ipoh early this year and I loved it even though it didn’t look as colourful and fresh as yours. I am so glad to have found this recipe and I might try to cook it without daun kadok as I can’t find them here in Australia.

    One question for Carina Ong who posted on making your own perut ikan. Can you further elaborate on the process please? Do you literally cut the ‘perut’ from the fish or do you ask the fish monger for the perut? and do you put the perut (after mixing it with salt and put them in airtight container) in the fridge? or in the pantry?

    Thank you again Rasa Malaysia for sharing your recipes. I really appreciate your generosity.


  36. I chance upon ur website when looking for local Asian cuisine which i miss. I’ve been around the world but nothing beats eating something from home. And now studying overseas,i’m forced to cook! but i LOVE it! Its hard to find the ingredients sometimes, but it means looking for alternatives in the asian market. I check in to your website whenever i crave for something, and i can say u always have the best post and the pics make it so delicious! Looking forward to trying new dishes from u! Thanks~!

  37. chilipadi

    Thank you so very much for reminding me of this dish. Planning to be back in Malaysia in November. Will definitely ask my nyonya aunt to cook this dish and acar-acar too. I introduce your site to my daughter who lives in the bay area and she is raving about your delicious and easy-to-follow recipes. One sad note though…she has stopped calling me up for instructions on how to cook this and that. Thanks and no thanks to you! Just kidding. Anxiously waiting for your recipe cookbook to to come out.

  38. Low C T

    I remember helping my mom cook this 40 years ago. Your recipe is almost the same as my mom’s just that she would put the fish intestines,stomach,etc in a bottle and let it ferment for a few months before using it for the perut ikan

  39. Keith Ooh

    Growing up in Penang, I used to enjoy my late maternal grandmother’s perut ikan, except she would cook it in the “masak pedas” style… Wished I had learnt the recipe from her before she passed away :(

  40. luanlee

    I like lemak sui and l use ikan tengiri jeruk if I am not in Malaysia . everyone has a slightly different ingredients that’s unique to their own

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