By Ahmad Muliady Abdul Majid
KANGAR, Jan 17 -- A housewife, here, is having her hands full to prepare up to two tonnes of pekasam or fermented fish to meet the high demand for the products, especially ahead of the fasting month of Ramadan.
Wan Mastura Megat, 36, said it has become a routine for her at the beginning of the year to prepare pekasam made from lampam, puyu and sepat fish.
“Making pekasam fish is actually not really difficult but we need to be careful and always maintain cleanliness to ensure it lasts longer.
“...it would be better if we prepare it using our own recipe because every pekasam fish has its own unique taste,” she told Bernama recently.
Wan Mastura said she acquired the skill of making pekasam fish from her mother-in-law Siti Dzabedah Yop, 63.
On her business venture, Wan Mastura said it all started in 2012 when a friend who attended an event in Kuala Lumpur asked her to make puyu pekasam to be promoted there.
“At first, I only made it with the intention of helping my friends but it turned out to be a big hit when I joined the International Agriculture, Horticulture and Agro Tourism Exhibition (MAHA) in 2014,” said the housewife while rubbing finely grounded toasted fragrant rice on lampam fish.
Wan Mastura said since then the orders kept coming including from Sabah and Sarawak for her Pekasam Warisan Perlis products.
Another pekasam maker Abd Azhar Abd Aziz, 34, who is also a fisherman said the idea to start the business came about after he faced difficulties to sell his catch to fishmongers.
Despite being unsuccessful in his first attempt to make pekasam, Abd Azhar said he did not give up and with the help of his mother Melor Ali, 57, he eventually managed to come out with his own fermented fish products.
“Alhamduillah, every month I manage to sell almost one tonne of pekasam made of lampam, bongkok, belida and tilapia fish to visitors at the Timah Tasoh freshwater fish sanctuary.
“Each 250gm pack of my pekasam fish products is sold at the price of RM5 only,” said the father of three.