Sambal Stingray (Malaysian-Portuguese Baked Fish)



Why It Works

  • Baking the fish in banana leaves perfumes the dish and retains the fish moist.
  • Cooking the fish with the spice paste (as an alternative of serving it individually) ensures that the fish is seasoned and flavored from the beginning.

Malaysia, like a lot of the world, has a protracted historical past of being colonized by European nations. Its historic port metropolis Malacca was conquered in flip by the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British (who then made their method all through the nation), leaving indelible marks everywhere in the cultural panorama. You may see it within the structure of many older authorities buildings in our state capitals, the pervasive segregation of society by ethnicities, and, in fact, in our food.

Severe Eats / Michelle Yip


The Malaysian Portuguese (additionally referred to as the Kristang) is by far one of the crucial resilient communities within the nation, with their very own festivals, music, and delicacies which have survived till at the moment. If you happen to’re touring by means of the state of Malacca, you’re positive to get suggestions from vacationers and locals alike to attempt the domestically ready Portuguese baked fish, a particularly fashionable menu merchandise that has made its method across the nation to house kitchens and even shopping-mall meals courts. It’s primarily fish smothered in a wealthy and spicy paste, wrapped in banana leaves, and both grilled or baked. When it’s cooked with skate, it’s additionally known as sambal stingray, although any sort of fish (resembling snapper) will do.

Apparently, this archetypical dish of the Portuguese group solely took place within the twentieth century. Martin Theseira, Portuguese group chief and activist from Malacca, states confidently that Portuguese baked fish as it’s served now was not in existence earlier than the mid-Sixties when he was an adolescent. “There’s a spice paste mixture fashionable in Kristang kitchens referred to as rempah sayur (that means ‘spice paste for greens’), which historically consists of candlenuts, recent chiles, fermented shrimp paste, and Asian shallots,” he explains. His pal and part-time fisherman Charlie Overee is the primary individual he is aware of who experimented with pairing rempah sayur with fish and grilling it. It grew to become a favourite social gathering dish, the recipe spreading from household to household, and ultimately grew to become a part of the menu in Kristang eating places round Malacca. 

Severe Eats / Michelle Yip


As of late, every household has their very own model of spice paste for Portuguese baked fish. One in every of my private favourite variations of it’s served at De Lisbon Restaurant. Julie Rodrigues, head prepare dinner and proprietor of the restaurant, tells me that her recipe contains lemongrass (which isn’t a conventional element of rempah sayur), and makes use of dried chiles as an alternative of recent chiles. Perfumed even additional with makrut lime leaves, the baked fish is served with a small squeeze of calamansi juice to perk up the flavors, and served with white rice.

The fish of selection used at her restaurant and plenty of different eateries are purple snapper and sea bass, as they’re simpler to acquire recent, however I adore it cooked with skate. The recipe shared under is my very own approximation of the model served at De Lisbon, ready with skate, and baked within the oven for comfort.



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Αναφορ Binance
13 days ago

I don’t think the title of your article matches the content lol. Just kidding, mainly because I had some doubts after reading the article.

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