Recipe swap through cooking: Penang Pasembur vs Zarzuela ‘Fishermen stew’

Have you ever tried Penang Pasembur?! We learned how to cook this delicious Malaysian dish by our new friends, Hui Mei and Deryk, from ‘Spain 360’ team, a  Malaysian TV Program. We had an amazing evening cooking with them as they wanted to learn an iconic recipe of Catalonia’s cuisine and then cook for us their favorite meal.

Hui Mei, the host, and Deryk, her helper, were taught by Quim, our chef, to cook a traditional dish from Barcelona. We chose ‘Zarzuela’, a tasty fishermen stew. And the Malaysian team showed us how to cook an exquisite dish from the Malaysian cuisine: Penang Pasembur. It was sooo yummy!!!


2014-05-07 13.36.16 2014-05-07 13.41.46   2014-05-07 13.47.04 2014-05-07 13.42.28

2014-05-07 13.42.28 2014-05-07 13.26.41

Penang pasembur

2014-05-07 13.34.39

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 50 gr shallots
  • 50 gr garlic
  • 50 gr turmeric
  • 50 gr buah keras
  • 50 gr dry chilli paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 400 ml water
  • oil
  • 6-7teaspoon sugar
  • 100 gr roasted peanuts
  • 100 gr mash potato

Served with

egg, cucumber, tofu, cucur udang, papadom, bean sprout, seafood

Blend shallots, garlic, turmeric and buah keras.

Oil-fried the above, add in chilli paste.

Add in 400 ml water.

Add in mash potato, add sugar and salt.

Lastly add in peanuts.

Zarzuela de peix (Catalan fishermen’s stew)

2014-05-07 13.35.26

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 8 prawns
  • 300 gr of squid
  • 300 gr of monk fish
  • 200 gr of clams
  • 200 gr of mussels
  • 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, grated
  •  3 cloves of garlic, pealed and chopped
  • some flour
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • white wine
  • fish stock 

for the picada

  • 20 gr of almonds
  • 20 gr of hazelnuts
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • some fresh parsley leaves 

for the fish stock

heads and bones from the fish used for the stew, together with some small crabs and some other shellfish

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 lick
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 turnip
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic (not peeled)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper



First start to prepare a fish stock. Clean and chop the vegetables finely, except for the garlic that should be left whole.

Fry the onion gently in a saucepan with a little oil. When it begins to soften and change the colour, stir in the rest of vegetables and continue the cooking for some minutes.

Add the fish in and a 1l of water and bring to a boil. Let it cook for 20 minutes, pass through a sieve and set aside.

Then clean and cut the fish in slices. Clean also clams and mussels. Salt and coat the fish with some flour.

Brown the seafood slightly in a pan with hot oil. Set aside. Do the same with the fish, but not with the shellfish.

Sieve the oil and use it to cook the onion slowly. When it begins to get translucent, add in the garlic, and the tomato.

Cook until caramelised and stir in the white wine. Let it reduce it to half and add the fish stock. Let it boil for some minutes.

Then add the fish, seafood and shellfish into the casserole and cook until the clams open, shaking from time to time to avoid sticking and to get a thicker sauce.

Finally add the ‘picada’ obtained by grounding all ingredients in a mortar.

Stop the heat and let it settle down for 5 minutes before serving.