Saturday, May 03, 2008

Of Ikan Aya, Ikan Tongkol and Tuna Fish...

Right from my childhood I love eating fish and one of the fish that I love is the Ikan Aya. So what has this Ikan Aya has to do with Ikan Tongkol or Tuna Fish you may ask! Well, it is like this. Lots of people are confused as to this fish. In fact it is the same Fish. Ikan in English is Fish. Actually all the fish that I had mentioned in the title of this posting is the same fish. On the East coast of Peninsular Malaysia we call it Ikan Aya whereas others call it Ikan Tongkol. People on the west coast do not really like this fish and if you mentioned whether they eat Ikan Aya or Ikan Tongkol, they would say that not only they did not like it but they would not taste it. But when you ask them again if they enjoyed a Tuna Sandwich, the reply would most probably be yes, I love Tuna Sandwich, but again they do not like Ikan Aya. Then you have to explain to them that Ikan Aya, Ikan Tongkol and Tuna fish is the same fish. The Ikan Aya or Ikan Tongkol is the Malay name for Tuna Fish. So as you can see it is only the name that is different. So as the saying goes Rose by any other name is still the Rose and smell the same, so is this wonderful fleshy fish. The Ikan Aya.

The above images show Ikan Aya Singgang and the fried Tuna fish garnished with salt and turmeric. Ikan Aya Singgang or Tuna stew/soup is a very nutritious dish and it goes well with Sambal Belacan and fried salted fish. It would just be wonderful with Ulam [sort of fresh vegetables salad] and the fried Ikan Aya as well. Ikan Aya Singgang is very easy to do. What you got to do is to get a few cuts of ginger, galangal, a strip of lemon grass, a few chops of garlic, sliced anion, green chilly and a piece or two of Asam Gelugor [Garcinia atroviridis] . Just slow cooked it in water with the cut tuna fish and salt to taste, Voila!! You got yourself a very simple dish, yet nutritious. Remember that Galangal is a must, for without it your Singgang is not complete. Have a try.

This, friends is my first posting in May. We are almost half way through the year 2008, a year of change that would surely bring greater hopes and a better quality of life for all Malaysian. Have a nice day.


Ms B said...

Pak Idrus,

Why do you have to post about singgang?!??? Now you make me homesick.

When my late grandma was around, each time I went back, she always made the fish, sambal cili padi and petai jeruk. Yummy!

Then later, mom makes sure that we have it whenever I'm around, tho I think it's more of ikan patin gulai tempoyak.

You have a nice day uncle!

Pak Idrus said...

ms istanbul, thanks for the visit, the good words on this posting, as well as sharing your thoughts on Ikan Singgang.

I am indeed glad that this article touches you. It is in our culture to appreciate good foods and how it relate to our past, especially so of our loved one, like the Grandma and Mom who always cook with a pinch of Love.

Ikan Singgang is special to me and most of my generation but I am not sure the generation of McDonnell and KFC would appreciate what I am wring about. Anyway it is part of us, so enjoy it. Well, you can still have a do of Singgang in London. I am sure you get Ikan Aya there.

Have a nice day and take care. Thanks as well for the greeting.

Pak Zawi said...

Pak Idrus,
When I was young I suffered from scabies. It was a bad one. My parents will not allow me to take fish such as ikan aya because they said it will make me itchy. I guess it was unfounded and unproven. Visits to the clinic cured me of scabies.
Now I am enjoying ikan aya be it singgang, goreng, rbus or masak lemak.
Ikan aya used to be very cheap and considered a poor man's fish. Now with everyone educated that ikan aya or tongkol is really the tuna, it is no more a poor man's fish. infact tuna is highly prized in Japan especially the large ones.

Anonymous said...

Hi Idrus,
I am glad you spaced your two posts about Malaysian cooking several weeks apart (the previous one was on April 12: "Of Rice and Malaysian...") If they had been any closer I don't think I would have been able to resist the temptation and I would have boarded a plane here in Seattle and landed at your doorstep in KL, plate, fork and spoon in hand, pleading: "Makan, makan!"

Pak Idrus said...

zawi, thanks for the visit and sharing your thoughts on this posting.

Well, in those days most children are in some kind of sickness or the other and scabies is among the common one that most kid are infected. This is due to malnutrition when quality foods are scarce. Well, with the sea around us most of us would swim in the salty water and got cured of the skin disease. Nowadays you rarely see kids get this skin rashes.

Glad that like me you love Ikan Aya. Have a nice day.

Pak Idrus said...

louis, thanks for the visit and am glad that this posting touches you.

Well, my home is always open and you are welcome to come over and enjoy the meals. Well, what else Malaysia talk about, it surely about Makan or having a Makan and talk. Indeed a heaven for all kind of cuisines.

Have a nice day and take care. I believe you are enjoying the sun now.

Anonymous said...

Assalamual'alaikum Pak Idrus

You are rightly pointed out that Ikan Aya, Tongkol and Tuna are the same fish. When i first moved to KL, I have difficulty to buy Ikan Aya as the seller at Chow Kit's Market did not Ikan Aya. I really like Ikan Aya Goreng. I do not why, but rasanya sangat enak.

How about its recipe, can you share with us? Bolehkan.

Pak Idrus said...

mamadou, thanks for the visit and the greeting, as well as sharing you thoughts on Ikan Aya.

The fried Ikan Aya is simply great. It is easy to do. First clean it with water that you have added some sour element like Asam Gelugor or Asam Java or just vinegar. We say 'kilaskan ikan' and after washing it clean, garnished it with powder turmeric plus salt. Fry it and it is done. Enjoy it while it is crisp and hot.

Have a nice day.

Pak Idrus said...

alang, you posted your comment of Ikan Aya under "Such a mystique", so do see my reply under that posting. Thanks again for the visit. Have a nice day.

Unknown said...

Tuna and tongkol are from same species but they are not the same. They look different, taste different, and also differ in term of color and size.

Pak Idrus said...

Sky Net, thanks for the visit. I am from the east coast and I know what I am saying. As far as we are concern Ikan Tongkol, Ikan Aya and Tuna [in English] is the same fish. This fish that we eat are small in size and the huge one they caught in the open sea are huge for export.

Have a nice day.

Art Calligrafia Mohamad said...

Salam & hi dear Pak Idrus. I think what Skynet want to saying is all about the species. Tuna have many species. There are Yellowfin Tuna, Bluefin Tuna, Blackfin Tuna, Dogtooth Tuna, Skipjack Tuna, Big Eye Tuna, Long Tail Tuna, Mackerel and many more.

A little different might be categorized into the other name. And I am wonder, if the "Ikan Cencaru" are one of the "Ikan Tongkol" 's it right?

Pak Idrus said...

art calligrafia, thanks for the visit and sharing your thoughts on the subject of this posting. Tuna as a specie has many type but Mackerel is not Tuna so is Ikan Cencaru. Ikan Cencaru is often call Jacket Fish and only found in the tropical region. Mackerel is Ikan Kembong as far as the Malay is concerned. Some are small and some are big but it is still Ikan Kembong or Mackerel As for Tuna we call it Ikan Tongkol or Ikan Aya.

Have a nice day.