Skate with spicy tamarind and lime, Singaporean style
( SERVES 4 )
Photo by Tamara West
Going to a fish market is like visiting a museum of the weird and wonderful – there are so many strange looking creatures from the sea that are great eating, that we aren’t even aware of. Skate is one of those fish. They look similar to stingrays, with big wings which are full of firm white flesh. They are commonly eaten in Asia and the flesh, which flakes apart in long beautiful strips, has a mild flavour. Dusted in flour and fried, skate wings are delicious.
- Heat oven to 200C. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
- Combine tamarind paste and water in a bowl. Break apart and mash with a fork to make a thick paste. Strain through a sieve to discard the seeds and membrane.
- Blitz shallots, garlic, ginger and chili in a small food processor until a paste. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat and fry the paste until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the tamarind mixture, fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar and simmer until thick and dark, about 5 minutes.
- Place skate on prepared baking tray and smear paste all over. Roast in oven until cooked through, 25-30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the skate. Serve skate with lime wedges to squeeze over, steamed rice and Asian greens.
This is the pulpy flesh of the tamarind fruit. It is sold in a block, and you can buy it in all Asian food stores, and some supermarkets in the International section. To prepare it you need to mix it with hot water, then strain it to get rid of the seeds. It has a beautiful sweet and sour flavour. If you can’t get hold of tamarind pulp you can use pre-made tamarind paste that comes in a jar, but I think the pulp has the best flavour. Read more here.