Skate or Ray Fish is a peculiar type of fish that is not favored by many people, probably due the odor that it has. However, there is a technique to cleaning the fish that can get rid of the fishy smell. As for me, whenever I clean the fish, I usually use a healthy mix of tamarind and salt to rub into the meat of the fish, leave it for a few minutes and then rinse with cold water.
The smell aside, skate is really a delicious fish with soft textured meat (try to get the white meat variety that has a softer meat when cooked; the darker variety toughens with cooking!) and goes especially well if cooked with spices and chili. Indeed, the use of spices and chili also help to further reduce the smell (if there is any left after the rigorous wash!) This particular recipe is one of my favorites!
- 1kg skate, skinned, cleaned and cut into sizable portions
- 6tbs chili paste
- 6 shallots, pounded
- 4 cloves garlic, pounded
- 3 long aubergines, cut about an inch lengths
- 10 okras
- 1 golf ball-size dried tamarind, reconstituted with 3 cups water
- 1tbs freshly cracked black pepper
Heat about three tablespoons vegetable oil in a pot and saute the chili paste the pounded shallots and garlic and the cracked black pepper until aromatic. Pour in the tamarind juice and bring to the boil. Then add in the skate fillets, okra and aubergines. Simmer until the fish is tender and the vegetables are cooked. Season to taste.