The dish of Arsik is a delight to behold - with its intricate, complex flavour, it offers diners an unforgettable culinary experience. Combining the freshness of coconut milk and the sharpness of chilli and lemongrass, it offers an intriguing array of flavours and textures that tantalise the palate.


The origins of Arsik can be traced back to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, where it has been enjoyed for centuries as a traditional everyday meal. This hearty dish is especially popular among Bugis fishermen living off the island's coasts, who rely on a diet of freshly caught seafood with locally sourced ingredients such as coconut milk, lemongrass and chilli peppers.

To prepare this unique dish, the seafood or fish of choice - often mackerel (ikan teri) - is simmered for several hours in a mixture of coconut milk and ground spices, including chilli and lemongrass, which lend a pleasant piquancy to the taste. After simmering, the fish is then served with steamed cassava leaves, creating an explosion of complex flavours.

The result of this slow-cooked meal is an exquisitely crafted combination of rich, creamy coconuty goodness, zesty lemongrass, and a refreshingly fiery chilli finish, making it a must-have for any foodie. What's more, its versatile nature means that it can be served as a main meal or even as part of a side dish with other dishes such as nasi goreng or sambal kecombrang.

If you're looking to try something new, Arsik is the perfect choice. This delicious dish may not be well known around the world, but its flavourful complexity makes it one of the most delightful dishes in the region.

Arsik recipes

Amazing Arsik recipes sourced from the web.

The origin of Arsik

Arsik, a prominent traditional dish from the Lake Toba region of North Sumatra, is an extraordinary culinary delight with a complex history deeply entrenched in tradition. This remarkable dish is widely adored and has been popularized throughout Indonesia, often served as part of festive celebrations.

It all began back in the 17th century, when the Batak people migrated from the nearby island of Java and brought a variety of spices and ingredients to the area. The locals implemented these items into their cooking, which resulted in the initial iteration of Arsik. Initially, this dish was mainly eaten by indigenous people. However, as time progressed and its deliciousness spread, its popularity soon surpassed boundaries.

The mainstay of this tantalizing dish is a species of freshwater fish known as Ikan Mas or Tilapia, which is cooked with a variety of herbs, spices and vegetables. These ingredients are slow-cooked to bring out the most flavorsome essence, then blended and ground together to create a thick paste which is then smeared onto the fish.

The symbiosis of the seasonings creates an unrivaled flavor and mouthfeel that is both enlivening and comforting, with a unique aroma that invites one to partake of its savory goodness. It is aromatic, hearty and imbued with a distinct character that is as comforting as it is salacious.

Arsik’s fame has continued to grow to reach places far and wide, and today it is enjoyed in many parts of the world, a testament to its popularity over the centuries. Its sublimely exquisite taste reminds us of the beauty of the past and inspires us to explore our own culinary heritage.

Types of Arsik

What is Arsik? If you're looking for a unique and flavorful dish to try, look no further than arsik! A traditional Indonesian dish, arsik is a fish-based dish that consists of mackerel or carp cooked with a spicy chili paste and served with steamed coconut milk and spices. From its humble beginnings as a regional delicacy in the province of North Sumatra, it has since spread across the archipelago and become immensely popular.

At its simplest, arsik consists of fried fish, chili paste, and coconut milk. However, its many varieties and adaptations have made it a favorite among food enthusiasts looking for something exotic and flavorful. Some versions include tumeric, tamarind, and shrimp paste, while others incorporate coconut cream or palm sugar for added sweetness. Additionally, the fish used can range from fresh or smoked mackerel, carp, or pike, and is usually pan-fried in oil before being tossed in the chili paste.

No matter how it's prepared, arsik is a dish that is sure to tantalize the taste buds. Its fragrant aroma and robust flavor make it a great accompaniment to steamed rice, while its spiciness enhances the flavors of the fish. It's also an excellent way to use up leftovers, making it a perfect last-minute meal!

To make the perfect arsik, start by preparing the fish. For a full-flavored version, try pan-frying it in a mixture of oil, turmeric, and garlic. Once it's cooked, set it aside and prepare the chili paste. This can be done by pounding together shallots, chilies, and shrimp paste in a mortar and pestle. Finally, add the paste to a pan along with the coconut milk and simmer until the sauce is thick and fragrant. Once done, toss in the fried fish and cook until the sauce coats the fish well.

Serve arsik hot with steamed rice, herbs, and extra chili flakes for an unforgettable dish. The amazing blend of spices and textures makes arsik a must-try for any adventurous eater!