Ikan Sultan or Ikan Jelawat. Chinese call it Su Tang Yu.
this is a type of wild ginger flower. In west Malaysia it is called Torch Ginger. In Sarawak it is called Kechalak by the natives. The Malays call it Bunga Kantan.
Fresh water fish is lovely if it is very fresh from the Baram and Rejang. So when I think of a good river fish I think of semah . And to be able to get one in the fresh fish market it is almost like finding a gold mine. But alas since the semah is not so readily available (now near extinct) I have to settle with a small head of Ikan Sultan (about 600 grams)which is quite adequate for two persons.
Last night I had this small but fresh fish head to share with my father-in-law's cousin. It isn't quite the thing to steam(ching chen - my favourite) just the head of a small fish so I decided to use wild ginger from the back garden and make a simple fish head soup. It was definitely worth spending time and love to cook the dish!
The fish head was cut into three pieces with three small stalks of wild ginger and flowers. (The head and another slice for the guest and one slice for yours truly.)
Boil four cups of water with some normal ginger and a few drops of sesame oil. Add the fish slices when the water is boiling. Cover the pot for about 20 minutes to bring out the full flavour of the fish head.
Add the sliced wild ginger flowers and cook till soft - about 10 minutes. Add some hot chilies. A few asam paya would be nice too to enhance the sweetness of the fish while adding some sourish tang!! Add salt and pepper to taste.
We had rice (specially cooked with a lot of hard crust in a good thick pot - kerak asi) with a good green chilli and belacan sambal and freshly boiled long beans (from the neighbour's garden). The soup was good to the last drop!!
When relatives come the kitchen can become the centre of social interaction especially if they can cook together and have fun like in the olden days.
It was a good organic meal! Hope you can join me next time. And I hope some one can give me the English name of this sultan fish. It is probably a near cousin of the semah.