Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sambal Stingray for NZers

I'm living in Nelson at the moment - and I can honestly say that Tasman Bay is absolutely riddled with stingrays (and eagle rays).

I was fishing with my son a few weeks ago off the rocks - and they seemed to be everywhere. First there were two eagle rays - swimming up and down - up and down almost if they were on patrol - and then later on an enormous black ray turned up the base of its tail the same thickness as tantalized fence post - it was huge.

I pointed it out to a swimmer - who left the water in fear. It truly looked like some sort of biblical monster. We hooked one of the beasts (we were actually after Snapper) - but it dispatched our line as if it was candyfloss.

However, with all these stingers about, when was the last time you saw Stingray on the menu?

Well in Singapore they love it - and the dish is called "Sambal Stingray" -  it tastes great - admittedly is often so dam hot - that who really knows?


  • 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp, soaked in
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut cream
  • 1 kg stingray, divided into 4 portions
  • fresh banana leaves or aluminum foil
  • 1 lemon (or a few limes)

Spice Paste

  • 1 cup shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon shrimp paste (belacan)
  • 2 tablespoons ground dried chili
  • 2 slices galangal (or ginger)
  • 2 tablespoons water


Stir and strain the tamarind water and discard any solids.Grind Spice Paste ingredients until fine.Heat oil in skillet, saute the paste until fragrant.Add salt and tamarind water, cook for another 2 minutes.Add coconut cream and cook for 1 minute over low heat.When the mixture is thickened, remove from heat and cool.Coat sting ray pieces (or other fish) with the paste.Place each piece on a large banana leaf/foil.Spread remaining spice mixture over fish.Roll up leaf/foil, then grill/barbecue the parcels for 8-10 minutes.The length of time required depends on thickness of fish.Serve hot with wedges of lemon/lime and cincaluk (optional).

Whether or not this will become a Kiwi classic is yet to be seen!

However I would say that the Stingrays in Singapore - seem way smaller than the ones that cruise Tasman Bay.

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