222 Piendang from Padang with fish

222-Padangse-Piendang-VisWe love fish and #222 from Beb’s book looks great because of the combination with santen (coconut) and basil. Beb makes this recipe with cod, mackerel or mullet. Quite different fish in flavor. I go for the most neutral one: cod.

I’m not going to use basil powder. Better to make this dish with fresh basil. Beb uses ‘European’ basil sometimes in her dishes. We can get Asian (Thai basil) too here in Holland. Also really delicious. It has a more mint flavor than ‘normal’ basil. But because the indo kitchen is a fusion kitchen, I love to try fresh ‘Europenian’ basil with my cod.

The recipe requires a kilo of fish. That is certainly enough for four people. It’s ready in an hour. The fish needs to marinade ‘for a while’.

Padang Piendang of Fish translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch kookboek, page 204.


1 kg of cod, mackerel or mullet
1/4 block of santen (coconut cream)
3 dl of water


5 tablespoons of chopped onions
1 chopped garlic clove
3 chilies, deseeded and quartered
3 roasted kemiries (candle nuts)
2 tablespoons of asem water (tamarind), made with a piece of asem the size of a walnut
1 teaspoon galangal (laos)
1 tsp turmeric (kunjit)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon of basil
1 salam leaf
1 stalk of sereh
the juice of 1 lemon

Wash the fish, make it clean, cut her into pieces and rub it with the tamarind paste and salt. Allow to marinate for a while. Bring water to the boil with the santen and the leaves. Rub onions, garlic, roasted kemiries, galangal, ginger and turmeric together into a paste, add this to the santen together with the fish and the chopped chilies. Let the fish simmer for 15 minutes. Finish it with the lemon juice.


I eat together with my daughter today, so 350 grams of fish is more than enough for us. I therefore use half of the amount of herbs. But use a whole stalk of lemongrass and the same amount of salam leaves.

The fish does not need long, so these herbs do not have a lot of time to give of their great flavor. That’s why I use a whole lemongrass stalk. It works fine even with a small amount of fish.

222-Padangse-Piendang-Vis-asemBeb has lemongrass in her ingredients list, but it does not show in the preparation part of her recipe. This also goes for the basil. I add the lemongrass to the coconut broth. The basil I add to the dish before serving it.


Asem is tamarind. I use tamarind paste from a jar that I buy at the Asian store. I add half teaspoon of salt and two tablespoons of water. Adjust the salt, depending on the amount of fish.


Allow to marinade well. I place my fish for half an hour in the fridge covered with plastic wrap.


I rub the onions and garlic in the mortar (cobek). I add the kemiries (candle nut paste I use from a jar), the laos (galangal powder), kunjit (turmeric) and the ginger powder and rub this together into a fine paste.

I heat 1,5 dl of water (half a cup) together with the santen (coconut cream). For a kilo fish use the the amount Beb suggests – 3 dl. The broth should not be to much. The fish must be half or just under water depending on the size of the pan.

222-Padangse-Piendang-Vis-brothIn the meantime, the water can be heated together with the santen (coconut cream), the lemon grass and the salam leaves. I add the freshly rubbed bumbu too and let it simmer for a few minutes.


Then I gently place the fish in the broth together with the deseeded chilies. It already looks delicious. I let my cod briefly simmer with the lid on the pan for about 10 minutes. Then my fish is done. The length of cooking depends on the amount and thickness of your fish.

I serve my Padang Piendang fish with basil in large chunks. I drizzle the juice of a quarter lemon over it. I love this dish because of the many layers in flavor. It is simple, a bit spicy, sour and sweet. Let’s eat 😉

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