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Sting Ray Asam Pedas - MFF Johor #1

Friday, March 1, 2013



Oh Johor!

I've spent 3 years in this state. 1 year right in the state capital Johor Bahru (JB) and 2 more years in a bordering area, Selancar of which I'll step into Segamat at least 3 times during the weekdays.

I remembered my year in Johor and that was the best Ramadan experience ever. Usually, the food sold at Ramadan bazaars are a gamble, with 60% 'not delicious' risk, and a very high 'yuck' risk for kuihs. But in JB, I have never bought a kuih that is not delicious. Well, it may not be to my liking, but generally, the taste is good because they don't skimp on the ingredients. Coconut milk is used generously. But to be fair, the price is also higher in JB, but that is worth it. I'd pay for quality kuihs that won't end up in the bin. I don't want to waste my money.


I do realise in JB, that most food do taste strong. Seasonings, spices.. everything is 'kow'! Or is it just those places I went to? I don't know, 1 year is actually quite short to explore the local cuisine in depth. I have a few favourites from JB, namely Laksa Johor, Bihun Soto, and Nasi Lemak Senibong. I am in love with the first 2 that whenever I step into the bus station, the body will walk pass the soto stall and I will try very hard not to sit down. But I can't resist it. Whenever I see laksa johor (the thick one), I can't help but buy it, because I knew, after that one year.... it's no more. I don't usually go to Johor. I used to travel East Coast quite often, but I don't travel down south, weirdly. I am only in the south for valid reasons, for work or studies, never for play. No no, Legoland is not in my plans at all.

Unforgettable kuihs are like kuih kole kacang, tepung gomak, nagasari and talam suhun (talam tokyo). And the Javanese food there is nice too! My favourite Javanese dish is the kacang goreng jawa. They cook it really nice there, with a good wok smell. Chinese food.... ehhh..... they taste good la, but I do not know of any special dishes distinct of JB. I can only miss Lavender bakery, LOL.



Now this dish, sting ray asam pedas. LOL. I am really laughing at myself.
I have been cooking sting ray in this manner for more than 10 years but I never knew it is Johor's style. I've eaten many versions of asam fish and it's always this version that wins my heart. Johor's style uses torch ginger and daun kesum. And they saute the chilli paste before preparing the gravy.

Northern style just boils everything, while Melaka style uses other garden herbs and spices. They all don't taste the same, don't smell the same.

So here I bring to you, my favourite Sting Ray Asam Pedas



Asam Pedas Ikan Pari / Spicy Tamarind Sting Ray
Recipe by: WendyinKK
Reference : CT Delima and My resipi

700gm sting ray
1 torch ginger bud, halved
4 sprigs of daun kesum (Vietnamese mint), 6-8 inches long each
2 lemon grass (4 inches from the base), smashed
10 young okra, trimmed
2 tomatoes, quartered
75gm + 25gm tamarind pulp
750ml water
4 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp sugar
1/3 tsp salt

Grind to a paste
12 dried chillies (seeds removed and soaked to soften)
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
15gm ginger (about 1 Tbsp amount, if chopped, just eyeball it)
5gm turmeric root (about 1 tsp amount, if chopped, just eyeball it)
5gm belachan/shrimp paste (about 1 tsp amount, just eyeball it)

1. Cut sting ray into preferred size. Rub 25gm of tamarind pulp onto sting ray. Let it sit for 30 minutes and then rinse the sting ray pieces clean. (while the sting ray marinates, you can prepare the chilli paste)
2. Rub 75gm tamarind in 750ml water until the seeds looks clean. Strain it. Discard the seeds. Save the ‘juice’.
3. Heat wok and put in oil. Saute chilli paste until it looks glossy (there will be visible oil in the wok).
4. Put in lemon grass, torch ginger, daun kesum and then tamarind juice. Bring to a boil.
5. Put in sting ray pieces, salt and sugar. Bring it back to a boil and taste, adjust taste if needed. Let it simmer for about 2-3 minutes. Sting ray is cooked when it can be flaked easily.
6. Put in okra and let it cook for 1 minute. Put in tomatoes, give it a light toss and turn off the heat.
7. Dish up and serve with rice.


 My comfort food. A plate of piping hot rice with lots of asam pedas gravy. It's orgasmic. LOL.

I like to see these beautiful lines of the sting ray. Yes, you can peel them off, layer by layer


I am submitting this to Malaysian Food Fest Johor Month hosted by Annie of Annielicious Food

20 lovely notes:

Mel March 1, 2013 at 11:21 AM  

I am drooling, you know! Well, who doesn't by just looking at this delicious asam pedas.

Fong's Kitchen Journal March 1, 2013 at 2:58 PM  

This looks really delicious. Let me check through the ingredients first .... Maybe I will replace half dried chilies with fresh chilies as we can't take very spicy food

Elena,  March 1, 2013 at 7:03 PM  

Sedap! Sedap!

Phong Hong March 1, 2013 at 7:05 PM  

Wendy, I will eat asam pedas anytime! Hah! Hah! Love your use of the "O" word :)

Nisa's Mom March 1, 2013 at 10:39 PM  

OMG!! wendy, this dish is come from heaven!! I never seen stingray here.. if I live closed to you I will exchange my craft for your dish :D

Chef and Sommelier March 2, 2013 at 6:47 AM  

Hi Wendy! This is my type of spicy dish... When I was younger with a stronger stomach, I could have this everyday... with rice!

Very sharp and colourful shots!

Han Annie,  March 2, 2013 at 9:39 AM  

Hi Wendy, I agree the cost of living, not only food is on the high side. And I also agree the quality of the ingredients are top priority.

Hehehe.... now I know someone is a fan of Lavender. It is a big multi-million bakery business down there. Another one is Seasons Bakery. People seems to be eating bread day and night.

For chinese food, there is no specific specialised dish, i.e. Klang BKT, or Ipoh Beansprout Chicken but there is a few good eating outlet that worth checking out.

Thanks for sharing this sting ray recipe. I learn to cook this from my mother and I never know it is Johor style. I always thought it is more to Nyonya style.

I can't wait for more of your repetiore or Johor diesh.

By the way, Wendy, how to you choose stingray? Sometimes I got it with strong amonia smell. I tried to wash it with air asam but not successful.

Can you share your experience on this?

Thanks and enjoy your weekend. :)

ivy sew March 2, 2013 at 12:20 PM  

So tempting... I am going to cook this. Thanks Wendy!

Jeannie Tay March 3, 2013 at 10:37 AM  

I like curries a lot but not the cooking part, too much work lol! This is one of my fav way of eating stingray besides grilling and dipping with a spicy sauce....yummy!

Jeannie Tay March 3, 2013 at 10:51 AM  

I like curries a lot but not the cooking part, too much work lol! This is one of my fav way of eating stingray besides grilling and dipping with a spicy sauce....yummy!

Lite Home Bake March 3, 2013 at 2:22 PM  

This is tempting! Now I have to decide whether to try the melaka nyonya style or this one :)

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more March 3, 2013 at 3:52 PM  

Mel,
Suen Lart is irrisistable usually :)


Fong,
try to ask for the less spicy ones, fresh chillies don't look this vibrant, sadly


Elena,
thanks


Phong Hong,
LOL, got oohs and ahhs as I ate, hahaha


Nisa's Mom,
Oh sure! hahaha


chef and sommelier,
LOL, not too old for anything, oh come on!


Han Annie,
Seriously, I don't like Seasons. It's nothing different than those we have here. Prefer the more innovative Lavender.
I dunno leh.. just see if it looks nice, then I buy. So far, had been lucky.


ivy,
come join us on FB and blog too, ook!


Jeannie,
LOL, actually ok de, as long as you've got the machine to do it


Lite Home Bake,
Of course this version! Come join us this month

Quay Po Cooks March 4, 2013 at 9:51 AM  

Yummy, yummy, I just want to eat all the ocras and drink the gravy! AIYOH! now got to go cari makan!! Your fault! hehe

Anonymous,  March 11, 2013 at 10:42 AM  

Hai Madam Wendy, Its Thachayani from Ipoh, I have tried several recipes of yours and recently i tried your sting ray asam pedas, simply exploded, very very nice. I followed the recipe and i doubled it. Thank you so much, your recipes never let me down!

LEY March 15, 2013 at 4:59 PM  

Wow....so so tempting!i got to take down ur recipe and try it one day, hope i can easily find the ingredient needed especially the leave.

syahirah May 11, 2013 at 8:37 PM  

I've tried! But without the tumeric root. I think it taste fine :) But I have 2 problems:

- the gravy is too watery despite the awesome spicy/sour taste.
- I think 2 tablespoons of sugar is too much. Perhaps 1 tablespoon and then add more if needed.

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more May 13, 2013 at 1:38 PM  

syahirah,
If the chilli is less spicy, then less sugar will be needed. It's all a matter of personal taste. :) What you see in the picture is all the gravy that I have with the measurements in the recipe.

Dela Hashim June 9, 2013 at 5:55 PM  

Wendy and Han Annie,

My mom said the trick of choosing sting rays is always ask for male sting ray from the seller. The stinky smell comes from female odor of the sting ray. Sound really funny but it always work for me. Usually when I went to buy it, the seller always separate the one with the smells from others. But obviously not everyone does that. I'm just lucky to never got the smelly one.

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more June 10, 2013 at 1:07 AM  

Dela,
Oh thanks for the tips.
I didn't know that. I am very lucky, I never got smelly ones

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