Barbecues are so much fun! I honestly love barbecues so much but we don’t do it very often. I might have only had or been to less than 10 barbecues in my entire life. Less than 10!
Maybe because of that small small number, I can remember every single time I was at one. Well, almost. We had a BBQ party at our old home back when I was a kid. I have pictures to proof that. I had 2-3 in my parents’ current home. We had something at my grandparents’ backyard, which is literally a back road facing a massive monsoon drain. But that was fun. Then we were invited to a BBQ party at a friend’s house a few years ago. We had one by a river with a friend when hubs & I were just married. Then about 2 years ago, we had one at our current home with 2 friends who were staying with us over the weekend. Yup, that’s it! And I remember each time as being so much fun!
Know why? I would almost always want to be the cook. The one who grills everything. I think that’s the best part of a BBQ really. If all you want to do is sit and have food served up on your platter, a restaurant is a better place. But if there’s a BBQ going on, I want in on the action. 😀
Alas, I hate the fire-starting part. I just don’t enjoy that and it takes sooooooo much time to get to a stage where the embers are perfect for grilling. So what do I do? I use the grill pan that Mom gave me, indoors, and have a BBQ-esque dinner in a flash! Either that or the oven. Both of which are my favourite cooking tools.
With that said, hubs and I recently came across some really lovely fresh stingray slices at the supermarket and had to get us a piece. We love fresh fresh seafood. The best way, for us, to enjoy stingray is via grilling wrapped in banana leaf. We call that Pari Bakar here. And since I wasn’t going to be starting up any charcoal fire to make this, I made good use of our oven and it worked out so well. Yes, we inhaled 460gms of stingray in one sitting. Talk about scarfing!
‘Nuff of all that story. Let’s get down to the real business.
I decided to make my own spice paste for this and it was really really good.
Anyway, ingredients for this recipe includes: Stingray, Lemon Juice, Salt, Tamarind Paste, Belacan (Shrimp Paste Block), Shallots, Garlic, Ginger, Dried Chillies, Lemongrass, Palm Sugar, Chilli Paste, Oil, Lemon Wedges, Onion, Coriander
Belacan is a a paste made out of fermented ground shrimp and salt. It comes in many forms and the one I got comes in a block. It’s very strong smelling and pungent but I looooove it so much. Yes, it will stink up your house when you cook this so proceed with caution. For me, the payout was well worth it. If you cannot find or are hesitant in trying this out for now, substitute equal amounts of fish sauce. It’s not the same but it gives a relatively similar pungency and savouriness to the paste.
We’re not done yet. The raw paste has to be shallow fried a little to dry out and develop fragrance.
Step 1: Shallow fry pounded paste until it turns brown and drier.
Step 2: Pour in tamarind juice & palm sugar.
Step 3: Cook until it’s gotten thicker and glossy.
There’s nothing left to do now other than to slather the cooled paste on our stingray slice and bake. I’d have used banana leaf had I been better in planning these things out but baking paper and aluminium foil would have to do.
Let’s have a closer look.
Best part is that there are no bones to contend with. All it has is a strip of central bone in between the flesh that you pull out and be done with.
I am going to be making a lot more of that paste to keep aside. It’s so good! I can see using it with squid, prawns, fish… just any seafood dish. I love this recipe. 4 thumbs up from the beneficiaries of this dish. 😉
Also, I doubled the paste recipe and gave one jar each to Mom and my aunt. We’re lovin’ it!
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” (Titus 2:11)
Baked Stingray (Pari Bakar)
(recipe adapted from MalaysianFood.net)
1 lbs or 460 gms Stingray slice
1 small Lemon (or 1/2 a large lemon)
1 tbsp Salt
1 tbsp Tamarind Paste (asam jawa)
1/2 cup Warm Water
4 dried Red Chillies, softened in warm water
4 Shallots, peeled
2 cloves Garlic, peeled
1/2 inch Ginger, peeled
1 stalk Lemongrass, white tender ends only
1 tsp Belacan (or 1 tsp Fish Sauce)
2 tsp Chilli Paste
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Palm Sugar (or Brown Sugar)
more Salt, to taste (I only added a pinch)
1 Red Onion, thinly sliced (to garnish)
1 Kaffir Lime (or Calamansi Lime), cut into wedges (to garnish)
3-4 sprigs Coriander (to garnish)
- Rub the stingray slice with the juice of the lemon and sprinkle on 1 tbsp salt. Set aside while you make the paste.
- Dissolve tamarind paste in warm water & sieve out seeds & membrane. Set aside.
- In a blender or pestle & mortar, grind shallots, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, belacan & chilli paste until it forms a paste. I let mine remain coarser but you can go as smooth as your blender allows. Stir in oil.
- In a HOT frying pan, toast the paste for about 3-5 minutes until it turns a darker shade of brown and becomes clumpy & thick.
- Pour in tamarind juice & palm sugar and let it simmer on MED LOW until it has thickened. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Leave to cool for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 F or 200 C.
- Tear out a large piece of aluminium foil, large enough to fold twice over to form a pocket for the sting ray to sit in comfortably. Tear out a slightly smaller sheet of baking paper and place on aluminium foil.
- Place 1-2 tbsp of tamarind chilli paste on the baking paper. Place the sting ray on top & slather on the remaining paste on the top side.
- Wrap the stingray well with aluminium foil, making sure sides are pressed in and sealed well. Place on baking sheet & bake for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from oven & open aluminium foil carefully. If the flesh is all white and flakes easily, it’s done.
- Garnish with red onion slices, lime wedges and sprigs of coriander.
- Savour with a good bowl of rice and a simple salad.