Barbecued or Baked Skate or Stingray (Fish)
This dish is traditionally made with stingray. However, you can use Skate instead. If buying fresh fish, use quickly or it begins to smell of ammonia. This fish has no thin bones that stop so many people from eating whole fish. It is always a good idea to get the fishmonger to clean it for you, because it is hard to clean it. The grey skin should be removed, it is not edible. Serves 4
4 skates, 1 per person
5 shallots, peeled and finely sliced (shallots are tiny, delicate-flavoured onions)
2 red fresh chillies, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. dry prawns
4 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. shrimp paste (belacan/belachan)
2 tbsp. tamarind puree*
2 tbsp. sugar
Salt to taste
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 block of creamed coconut
4 banana leaf portions, 16X12 inches or 40 X30 cm.
Aluminium foil, cut into 4 pieces approximately 18X18 inches or 45 X45 cm.
* Tamarind puree can be bought in jars from Chinese, Asian grocers. It is much better than the dark coloured tamarind concentrate, it is just tamarind pulp with fibrous bits removed.
Soak tamarind in boiling water for 20 minutes. Extract the juice.
Dry-fry shrimp paste in a small saucepan until it becomes dry and powdery. Keep aside.
Soak the dry prawns in hot water for 15 minutes then chop very finely, using a sharp knife or cleaver.
Heat a little of the oil in a wok and fry chopped prawns until crisp. Add fried shrimp paste, and mix to 'bind' it all together.
Heat a little oil in a wok and fry shallots.
Add sugar and caramelize onions (onions will become light brown when cooked with sugar).
Add shrimp/prawn paste from step 4, tamarind juice. Heat and bring it up to bubble.
Add coconut cream. Cook for 5 minutes, turn heat off and keep aside.
Place 1 fish per banana leaf. Divide the sauce equally between the fish and spread on top of each fish evenly.
Fold the banana leaf over the fish from both sides and turn in both ends, so it looks like a parcel.
To Oven cook; Place on a tray and cook in a pre-heated oven at 180 C or 350 F, gas mark 4, for 20 minutes.
To BBQ, place each banana leaf parcel on a piece of aluminium foil and make a parcel again. You now have 4 parcels. Place on a BBQ and cook for 30 minutes, turning over a few times.
Serve immediately, with boiled rice and other vegetables and salads.
This is a delicious fish dish, I would recommend it to any fish lovers! Mamta