Pindang Patin Palembang 2.jpg
Pindang patin, pangasius fish in pindang soup
Place of originIndonesia[1]
Region or stateSouth Sumatra[2][3]
Associated cuisineIndonesia,[4][5] Malaysia and Singapore[6]
Main ingredientssalt-boiled fish,[7] i.e. fish cooked in salt and spices including tamarind juice, garlic, shallot, ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, galangal, chili pepper, Indonesian bayleaf, citrus leaf, shrimp paste, and palm sugar.

Pindang refers to a cooking method in the Indonesian and Malay language of boiling ingredients in brine or acidic solutions.[8][9] Usually employed to cook fish or egg, the technique is native to Sumatra especially in Palembang, but has spread to Java and Kalimantan.[10] The term also could refer to a specific sour and spicy fish soup which employs seasonings like tamarind. Pindang has food preservation properties, which extends the shelf life of fish products.


The Indonesian dictionary describes pindang as "salted and seasoned fish, and then smoked or boiled until dry for preservation".[11] In Indonesia, various boiled fish products are generally known as pindang.[12] In Malaysia, it is known as pindang in Southwest coast of Malay peninsula, and singgang in Northeast coast of Malay peninsula.[13]

Pindang is often described as Indonesian salt-boiled fish, particularly in Java.[7] On the other hand, in Bali pindang specifically refers to seasoned fish brine, where rujak kuah pindang, or Bali style fruit rujak with fish brine stock is a popular dish.[14]

As a dish

Rujak kuah pindang of Bali
Rujak kuah pindang of Bali
Pindang serani of Karimunjawa islands in the center of Java Sea, uses grouper.
Pindang serani of Karimunjawa islands in the center of Java Sea, uses grouper.

Although cooking methods and dishes described as pindang could be found all across Indonesia, from Jepara and Banyuwangi in coastal Java to fishing towns of Sumatra, pindang is strongly associated with the local cuisine of Palembang, where pindang patin (Pangasius fish pindang) is its specialty,[5] and the province has rich variety of pindang dishes.[15]

Freshwater fish such as ikan patin (Pangasius sp.), catfish, carp or gourami are popularly used to cook pindang. However, seafood such as red snapper, milkfish, mackerel, tuna, grouper, or shrimp can be cooked as pindang as well.[16][17]

The cleaned fish flesh is boiled in water mixed in spices, including tamarind juice, garlic, shallot, ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, galangal, chili pepper, daun salam (Indonesian bayleaf), citrus leaf, shrimp paste, palm sugar and salt. The soup usually also contains pieces of chili pepper, tomato, cucumber, lemon basil and pineapple. This soupy dish has a pronounced sourness with a hint of mild sweetness and light hot spicyness.[5] Beef may also be used in the preparation of Indonesian-style pindang.[15]

In Malaysia, pindang is consumed in Southwest coast of Malay peninsula, the region that facing Malacca strait and Sumatra,[13] with some region has its own variation and different names. For example, pindang recipes have been pass down for generation by Chitty, the Peranakan Tamils of Malacca that is unique to the state.[18]

As preservation method

Further information: Boiled fish and Fish preservation

Bamboo-packed mackerel pindang sold in Kalibaru traditional market in Banyuwangi, East Java
Bamboo-packed mackerel pindang sold in Kalibaru traditional market in Banyuwangi, East Java
Pindang making in Blimbing, East Java circa 1920s
Pindang making in Blimbing, East Java circa 1920s

The term pindang refer to the cooking process of boiling the ingredients in salt together with certain spices that contains tannin,[10] usually soy sauce, shallot skin, guava leaves, teak leaves, tea or other spices common in Southeast Asia. This gives the food a yellowish to brown color and lasts longer compared to plainly boiled fish or eggs, thus pindang is an Indonesian traditional method to preserve food, usually employed for fish and eggs.[10] In Indonesia, ikan pindang (fish pindang) is also known as ikan cue. Both terms are often erroneously used interchangeably, although not all pindang fish are made of cue fish (Caranx sp.).[19]

Pindang is regarded as one of fish preservation method through boiling with salt addition. Although the method is used in other parts of the world, it is only of major commercial significance in Southeast Asia. The shelf life of the products varies from one or two days to several months.[12] The technique is native to Java and Sumatra. In Indonesia, various preserved pindang fish are available in traditional markets. Common fish being processed as pindang are tongkol (mackerel tuna or Euthynnus), bandeng (milkfish), kembung (mackerel or Rastrelliger), lejang (Decapterus), and also kuwe or cue (Caranx sp.).[12]

Pindang preparation is often called the "wet preservation", i.e. after covered in coarse salt, instead of being dried in the sun like salted fish, it is boiled on a low flame until the liquids are evaporated and the salt seasoning absorbed well into fish.[20] Compared to salted fish, pindang uses less salt, thus the taste is not as salty as salted fish. Other preserving methods common in Indonesian cuisine include asin (salted) or cured and dried in salt, and dendeng which is cured and dried in sugar, acar (pickling), and also asap (smoked).[4]


Pindang patin served with tempeh, sambal, and kecap manis, a Palembang dish
Pindang patin served with tempeh, sambal, and kecap manis, a Palembang dish

Pindang variants can be differentiated according to the kind of fish species used, or according to specific regional recipes which use different ingredients and spices combination. Pindang recipes can be found in various cooking traditions of Southeast Asia; from Javanese, Betawi, Palembang, and Malay cuisine. In Indonesia, pindang recipes show exceptional diversity in South Sumatra.[15]

Pindang bandeng, milkfish pindang served in Jepara, Central Java
Pindang bandeng, milkfish pindang served in Jepara, Central Java

Fish and seafood

Eggs and poultry

Javanese telur pindang.
Javanese telur pindang.



See also


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