This dish is inspired by my time eating in the hawker centres of Singapore. One of the dishes I always get is sambal stingray. I love the gelatinous quality of stingray mixed with the sweet/spicy flavour of the sambal belacan. This sambal is a cooked-down chilli paste, heady with pungent shrimp paste (belacan). The shrimp paste really gives it a punch that stands up well to the earthiness of barramundi. Other firm-fleshed fish such as (sustainably sourced) Patagonian toothfish, mulloway or flounder also works well. Prawns and squid work well too.
You may need to do this in batches, depending on how powerful your food processor is. Put all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor, except for half (
Heat a large heavy-based saucepan over a high heat and add the remaining vegetable oil. When hot, add the paste and fry it for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the chilli oil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring often, for about 2 hours or until the paste is dark red and the oil has started to split and rise to the surface. Taste the sambal. It should not taste of raw onions and garlic but instead be hot,
Marinate the barramundi with a tablespoon of sambal per fillet and refrigerate for 2 hours for the flavours to soak in.
Spoon a tablespoon of sambal on top of the fillet, making sure it’s evenly spread. Transfer the whole pan to the oven and
Transfer the cooked fish to a plate and garnish with lime halves and coriander sprigs. Serve with hot rice and cold beer.
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