Asam pedas means ‘sour and spicy’ and this version uses sour and spicy Australian native ingredients. In Malaysia it’s made with fish or stingray, but I’m making this with crocodile.






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  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 100 g tamarind pulp with seeds, soaked in 750 ml (3 cups) warm water
  • 6 lemon myrtle leaves (or 1 lemongrass stalk)
  • 1 small eggplant, cut into chunks
  • 6 okra, stems removed
  • 3 tomatoes, quartered (optional)
  • 6 dried bush tomatoes
  • 500 g crocodile tail (or white fish fillets), cut into very thin strips (or larger pieces if using fish)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup river mint leaves (or Vietnamese mint leaves)
  • 3 blood limes or sunrise limes, halved (optional)


  • 6 dried red chillies, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes
  • 2-cm piece peeled turmeric
  • 3-cm piece peeled ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 red onion, peeled
  • 1 large red chilli, seeds removed
  • 1 bird’s eye chilli, seeds removed
  • 2-cm piece toasted belacan

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. For the rempah, place all ingredients in a blender and blitz into a smooth paste. You can add a little water if you need to help the ingredients catch the blades.
  2. Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. Add the rempah and fry, stirring regularly until very fragrant, darkened and the oil starts to separate from the paste.
  3. Meanwhile, massage the tamarind in the warm water to separate the pulp from the seeds. Strain the tamarind water into the pan, add the lemon myrtle leaves and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add the eggplant, okra, tomatoes and bush tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the crocodile, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 5 minutes or until the crocodile is cooked. Season to taste with the sugar and salt, then stir in the river mint (or Vietnamese mint) and sunrise limes (if using).


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