Nyonya Kuah Lada (Fish & Brinjal In Turmeric & Peppercorn Gravy)

    Kuah Lada ('Kuah': soup/gravy; 'Lada': pepper) is a specialty Melaka Nyonya dish consisting of fish and brinjal (aubergine/eggplant) cooked in turmeric and peppercorn gravy, with a hint of tartness from tamarind paste juice. Mackerel (ikan tenggiri) or stingray (ikan pari) are the two preferred types of fish often used to cook kuah lada, although other suitable fish may be used too, like hardtail mackerel (ikan cencaru) and pomfret (ikan bawal).


    Melaka, Malaysia
    6 people made this


    • 40 gms garlic
    • 80 gms shallots
    • 1.5 inch long fresh turmeric (or 1 tbsp turmeric powder)
    • 1 fresh red chilli (this is optional)
    • 1 inch block Asian shrimp paste (belacan)
    • 1/2 tbsps white peppercorns
    • 3 candlenuts (buah keras)
    • 1/2 cup oil
    • 1 tbsp tamarind paste rubbed in 2 cups water (use your fingers to rub and squeeze the tamarind paste thoroughly in the water, then discard the seeds)
    • 2 brinjals, cut into 1.5 inches blocks and quarter them
    • 4 fish fillets/slices


    1. Blend the first 7 ingredients into a paste.
    2. Heat oil in a wok or pan, saute all the blended paste for about 10-13 minutes until fragrant.
    3. Transfer the sauteed paste into a small pot, add the 2 cups of tamarind juice, and let it boil on medium heat.
    4. Add in the brinjals, let it boil and cook until soft for maybe another 10 minutes, and then add in the fish slices and let it simmer for 5 minutes till they are cooked. Serve with rice.

    See it on my blog

    Check out this recipe from Petite Nyonya's blog

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