Saturday, 14 July 2012

Hooked on Sambal Stingray

Stingray was a fish I grew to enjoy eating only in my 20s. Before that, stingray was hardly eaten in my family as it was considered inferior seafood among Chinese, along with shark, tilapia, and even selar kuning. That was the 70s.

Then, some years back, stingray started turning up at hawker centers as a barbeque dish. BBQ stingray became very popular and remains one of the most popular items on the menu of barbeque stalls. As I started paying attention to this fish, I came to realize that it was also a staple of the Peranakan and Malay cuisines. In their recipes stingray would be cooked with spicy sambal and sometimes together with salted vegetables, and the combination of hot and sour makes this dish one of my favourites even until today.

Here’s my version of how to cook stingray at home.

Stingray in Spicy Sauce

Salted vegetables            200 g, rinsed in water thoroughly
Oil                                         2 tbsp
Dried chillies                      2, soaked in warm water
Ginger                                  2 sliced, bashed
Stock/water                      ½  cup
Stingray                               800 g, cut into cubes
Sugar                                    ½ tbsp
Salt                                        ½ tsp

Seafood Sambal Paste
Oil                                          2 tbsp
Shallots                                3, minced
Garlic                                     1, minced
Lemongrass                        1, minced
Ginger flower                     ¼ minced
Belachan                              ½ tsp, toasted
Lime juice                             1 tbsp
Assam                                   2 tbsp, mixed with 2 tbsp of water

1.     Saute shallots and garlic until fragrant. Add the rest of the herbs and spices and stir well.
2.     Pour in assam and lime juice and simmer for 3 minutes.
3.     Meanwhile, season the paste with salt and sugar.
4.     Remove from heat and set aside.
5.     Slow-fry salted vegetable in a clean wok, until the water content evaporates from the vegetable. Add 2 tbsp of oil, dried chilies and ginger, continue to sauté the vegetable for 5 mins.
6.     Add sambal, stock and stingray, simmer for 10 minutes.
7.     Season it with salt and sugar.
8.     Serve it immediately.

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