Saturday, April 17, 2010
Hung Who? It's Skate, mate!
If you going to buy stingray (ikan pari in Malay; hung hu in Hokkien) in Sydney, the chances of drawing a puzzled look from your fishmonger is greater than finding it. No, it is not a new specie of fish to him but it is commonly sold as skate in his shop. But the big surprise awaits especially for those who don't normally see such big stingray as compared to the smaller version found in the wet markets in Singapore. Here in Sydney, skate or sting ray is usually available at fish markets where large ethnic groups of Southeast Asian countries are living. Only the wings are sold here whereas the smaller specie found in Singapore markets are usually left whole. Its skin, brownish or greenish grey on one side and white on other, is quite tough but after cooking the skin slides off the fish easily. Stingray is excellent poached, sauteed or grilled. I can remember my mother used it to cook asam pedas and added tamarind to counteract the sliminess of the fish. In Singapore and Malaysia, stingray is commonly barbecued over charcoal, then served with spicy sambal sauce and is becoming over priced in the food courts.
Yesterday, my wife bought this favourite fish of mine to cook asam pedas (hot spicy and sour) for some Malaysian relatives and friends. It was truly an appetising dish indeed, as nearly everyone requested for a second serving of rice!
Asam Pedas Recipe:
1kg stingray wing, cut into 2-3 inch chunks
2 tbsp tamarind pulp
3 cup water
3 twigs of daun kesum (laksa leaves or Vietnamese mint)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1cup shallots or 1 big onion
2 cloves garlic
20g shrimp paste (belacan)
2tbsp ground dried chilies
1 stalk lemongrass
Clean stingray wing by scapping off the slime with a knive. Cut the ray wing into 2-3 inch chunk and sprinkle some salt. Mix the tamarind with water and strain the tamarind water and discard the pulp.
Grind Spice Paste ingredients until fine. Bring the tamarind water and grounded spice paste to a boil in a pot. Add the daun kesum (Vietnamese mint) and season to taste. Add the stingray and boil until cook. Do not overcook the fish as it takes only 2-3 minute to cook. Serve hot.