The main ingredients in asam pedas are usually seafood or freshwater fish. They are cooked in asam (tamarind) fruit juice with chilli and different spices. The cooking process involves soaking the pulp of the tamarind fruit until it is soft and then squeezing out the juice for cooking the fish. Asam paste may be substituted for convenience. Various vegetables such as terong or brinjals (Indian eggplants), okra and tomatoes are added. Fish and seafood (such as mackerel, red snapper, tuna, gourami, pangasius or cuttlefish), either whole body or sometimes only the fish heads are added to make a spicy and tart fish stew. It is important that the fish remain intact for serving so generally the fish is added last.