Ikang Singgang

I love ‘ikang singgang’ or ikan singgang in standard speak; and I guess so do most of Terengganu folks that I know. The singgang soup or ‘kuah singgang’ is so tasty that mum has to cook extra rice whenever she cooks the dish.

In our family ‘ikang singgang’ should be accompanied by ‘ikang panggang’ (grilled fish), a good quality ‘budu’ (a special sauce from Terengganu), ‘ppoyok’ or tempoyak (fermented durian), ‘lada jarung’ (bird’s eye chili) and ‘ulang’ or ulam (Malaysian salad) especially ‘pucuk jambu golok’ or pucuk gajus in standard speak (cashew shoots).

‘Ikang singgang’ is a simple dish – mum would boil some asam, galangal, turmeric and garlic in a pot of water. Next, she’ll add some fish and soon we’ll be sniffing the mouth watering aroma of tasty boiling ‘ikang sinnggang’ that sends us running to the kitchen asking how much longer we have to wait for our lunch. ‘Ikang singgang’ can be eaten hot or cold and some even prefer overnight ‘ikang singgang’. One can just add the ‘ikang singgang’ to their rice but both of my grandfathers prefer to first mix some ‘ppoyok’ and crush some green chilies in the ‘kuah’ (soup) before eating. Some, like nenek (my grandmother) prefers fresh durian instead of ‘ppoyok’.

According to mum, the right choice of fish and the freshness of the fish plays an important role in producing a good ‘kuah singgang’. The most popular fish for this dish is

ikang aye’ or ikan tongkol. There are 3 types of ‘ikang aye’ but the tastiest is the ‘ikang aye itang’. Infact ‘ikang aye itang’ is the prime choice in most of Terengganu fish dishes.

Next is how to prepare ‘budu’. First one has to buy a good quality ‘budu’. We can buy ‘budu’ easily but a good ‘budu’ is hard to get even in Terengganu. Squeeze a bit of lime juice and add a bit of ‘kuah singgang’, mix in some ‘ppoyok’, crush in some ‘lada jarung’ and garnish the ‘budu’ with some shallots and lemon grass. And do not forget the ‘pucuk jambu golok’ or cashew shoots.

A friend of dad (whose wife is not from Terengganu) used to complain that only Terengganu women can cook authentic ‘ikang singgang’ and he always misses his ‘kuah ikang singgang’ in KL. A not so tasty ‘kuah ikang singgang’ tastes ‘cero’. My conclusion is it is not that easy to cook a good ‘kuah ikang singgang’ after all!


7 thoughts on “Ikang Singgang

  1. Tonight aunty nak jelajoh Aiman’s blog.

    Amir Harith’s minder is retiring and the baton has been passed to his mom (my daughter, The Lady Who Lives Down The Staircase…please read if you have some minutes to spare)…

    I would like to share the recipe if I may…my version using ikan tenggiri.

    1/2 kg. of Ikan Tenggiri – the head portion – cut as desired
    2 big red onions – sliced
    1 clove garlic – cleaned, crushed with skins on
    1″ galanggal – crushed or sliced
    6 pcs assam gelugor
    1″ kunyit hidup – crushed
    Salt to taste.
    Sufficient Water

    BOIL ALL – would taste much better with longer boiling period then add the cut fish.
    Should be eaten with nasi panas. Cold also can…

    Sometimes I keep the over night kuoh till …for a period of more than anyone could imagine. My daughter The Lady Next To Me, would irup kuoh after her rice is finished and loves the onions and garlic found in it.

  2. Dear Aunty Royaltlady,

    Thank you for the kind words and for ‘jelajoh’ my blog. It’s so wonderful knowing someone cares to read my blog. Insya Allah I’ll jelajoh the blogs mentioned. And thank you for the recipe – I’ll tell mum to try it soon!

  3. Assalamualaikum Aiman…

    nice blog to read…keep it up bro…
    as to your dad’s friend…i’m also looking for a good ikang singgang in KL but still can’t find…

    however…if i may share…i found one kelantanese restaurant that serve good “ikang kembong singgang”, eventhough it is not as good as ours…it is located at Jalan TAR, at the small alley behind Pizza Hut…lots of “ulang”, “budu” and my favourite fried “telo ikang” served during lunch hour…


    “Negeri cantik, budaya menarik…Terengganu Darul Iman”

  4. Dear Encik Green Malay,

    Thank you for the encouraging words. By the way I am a girl (please click here) but I understand the name Aiman can also belongs to a boy. By the way, dad told me about a nice gerai makan Kelantan near KL International Hotel.

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