Asian Dishes, Seafood

Sambal Stingray

Recently the Girl has grown more adventurous in her food taste. A growing teen means you’ll have to start catering not only kiddy food at home but also adultish food so one day she asked for a favourite hawker dish here in this region.

Stingray or a type of skate fish? I’m not sure what it’s called elsewhere is a delicious fish when grilled with sambal and in banana leaf.

It’s actually simple to make! It was my first time making this fish dish and now that I know how to, I’ll be making it at least once every few months.

The first step is to make the sambal. I’ve gotten quite lazy because I’ve had to cook almost every day recently and making your own dried chilli paste is too much work. Thankfully, dried chilli paste now comes in a jar! How convenient.

So in a blender goes two or three red onions (the sizes here are much smaller than in the West. I think it’s called Indian onions here?), garlic, two stalks of tender lemongrass stems, two tablespoons of dried chilli paste from the jar, some leftover sambal belacan from a jar (original recipes just call for belacan, fermented shrimp paste but this whole ingredient can be omitted), and ginger. And with modern conveniences, I also used ginger garlic paste from a jar.

Fry the finely blended chilli paste mixture in quite a lot of oil till the oil separates. You can add a few pieces of kaffir lime leaves for the added aroma and a teaspoon of tamarind paste. I’ve added my tamarind in the blender so I didn’t have to add more. Then, lay a piece of softened banana leaf on a baking tray. Place some of the cooked sambal on it. Place the fish on and then smother with more of the sambal. Either grill in the oven or do it over a pan (but with a lid to cook). Serve with plenty of cut Calamansi limes. Delicious!

Asian Dishes, Seafood

Cencaru Bakar Sambal (Baked Scadfish in Sambal)

There’s a firm favourite fish amongst the Malays from the ladies side. Most men I know do not like this fish. It has quite a strong smell but once cooked, it’s delicious. It has a firm flesh, the skin a bit tough so you can’t eat the crispy skin. You’ve got to peel the out skin first after cooking to enjoy the firm sweet meaty flesh.

In Malay, this fish is called cencaru and even the local fishmongers know that it’s well liked by the Malays and not so by the other races. If not why would he tempt me by calling out just as I was walking or if the supermarket, ‘Ikan cencaru nak tak?’ (Do you want this cencaru fish?’ Haven’t eaten this fish in years, I caved and walked back to him, and before I knew it, I had three fish in my hand.

It’s best eaten fried or baked with sambal or soy sauce chilli padi dip. I made the first version, or rather got the Helper to do so for me.

We first made the sambal paste together and cooked the sambal through. After that, slit the top part of the fish and stuff as much sambal as you can. Before this, we seasoned the fish with salt and ground turmeric. And then bake. My kitchen smelled of fish! But afterwards, when the fish was done and the house smelled normal again, we both enjoyed eating the fish with hot plain rice. It’s a kampong favourite and us so modern in our sanitized public apartments have forgotten to appreciate the foods of the past.

Sambal paste

1. blend soft already boiled down dried chillies (about 20 pieces) with three onions and four cloves of garlic till very fine.

2. Fry over medium heat till cooked.

3. Add a bit of tamarind paste, salt and sugar to taste. The sambal should be sweet and tangy.

Asian Dishes, Rice, Seafood

Japanese and Salmon Furikake Rice Balls

I’ve been forced to cook now for my meals at work.

So last night I made a simple dish I learnt from my friend.

Cook Japanese rice. And then fry breaded salmon. The air fryer works perfectly! I used Louisiana Fish Fry crumbs (no need to add water) to my salmon pieces and then air fry till golden and cooked.

Then mix fish and rice together. Add furikake (one satchet) and one teaspoon of Japanese mayonnaise. Add salt to taste.

Shape into balls, but for me, I used the plastic star mold bought from Daiso years ago when the kids were little.

At work today, I ate it with the salmon spread which I should have mixed un with the rice. Next time, I will do this once I’ve purchased this delicious spread!

Asian Dishes, food, Places, Seafood

Uni in a bowl

Today my friend brought me to a space in a supermarket where we could have excellent seafood rice bowl. Most importantly, with fresh uni or sea urchin.

This dish is so decadent for me because it’s so high in purine level but we shared the bowl so I didn’t feel too bad.

After the excellent meal, I googled from my friend’s recommendation the site that ships fresh uni right to my doorstep. It is of course very pricey and I wouldn’t mind paying the price IF I am not the only one in the family eating it. So it looks like if ever I have a craving for uni, I have to make that trip downtown.

All the flavours of the sea in this bowl. 😍

Asian Dishes, Seafood

Stir Fried Prawns with Pineapples

Even though I cannot eat prawns anymore, I still cooked them tonight just because I had bought a kilo of it before I knew my test results. And even though I vowed not to eat them when cooked, I caved and ate two pieces 😅

The dish is inspired and copied from my trusty Malay cookbook from a decade ago. It is so simple to make! Unfortunately, instead of slicing the garlic and the rest of the aromatics, my helper pounded them fine. But no worries, it still worked out fine.

This is the original recipe in Malay which I’ll translate at the end of the post.

It’s such a simple but delicious meal to make. Taucu (pronounced TAO-CHO) is salted soy beans.

For the dish, I added oil to the pan and then the pounded garlic and ginger. Then the sliced galangal, red chillies and onions. After which prawns and two tablespoons of crushed taocu. There’s no need at all to add salt as the taocu is already salty. Then, from a can of cubes pineapples, throw away the juice and add half a can when the prawns are cooked. Serve hot garnished with fresh coriander.

I served this with baked teriyaki salmon, herbal chicken soup, stir fried baby greens and plain rice. The Macdonald’s comment was because yesterday I ordered it for dinner and we all fell sick. The food was not digestible. Maybe it’s an age thing. Or an Asian thing haha.The Recipe from the book calls for:

  • 300 g fresh prawns
  • 1/2 a fresh pineapple cubes
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • A bit of galangal, sliced
  • A bit of ginger, sliced
  • 2 red chillies, sliced
  • 2 tbsp of taucu (salted soy beans)
  • Salt and pepper (you really don’t need the added salt)
  • Oil to stir fry the ingredients in