Pepes is cooking method of steaming the ingredients (fish, chicken, tofu, or mushroom) wrapped in banana leaves until it becomes tender, then grilling the packets. In this recipe any fresh water fish or salt water fish can be used as substitute. In restaurants serving West Java cuisine, where Ikan Pepes is always on the menu, the use of carp fish is very common.
- 1 kg whole fish (carp or snapper)
- 1 chopped tomato
- 1 stalk green onion
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 5 salam leaves
- 50 g kemangi leaves (sweet basil)
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 2 tbl. salad oil
- banana leaves or aluminum foil to wrap
Spice paste, grind the following ingredients:
- Scale and clean the fish.
- Take out the intestines but not the egg.
- Make three diagonal slashes on each side of the fish for spice paste flavor to immerse.
- Marinade the fish with salt and tamarind for 15 minutes then wash the fish with a bowl of water to remove excess salt.
- Add cooking oil to the spice-paste, mix.
- Coat fish with spice paste.
- Put kemangi leaves, salam leaves and sliced lemon grass for the flavor.
- Wrap the fish in banana leaves or aluminum foil.
- Steam with medium fire, 30 minutes. Use pressure cooker for faster cooking time and better taste.
- Let it cool and grill the wrapped fish over charcoal fire.
Notes, tips and variations
- The use of Kemangi leaves is optional.