What is stingray?
Stingray are flat, diamond-shaped bottom-dwelling 'fish' with thin skeletons of cartilage rather than bone.
They're related to sharks and often eaten around Asia barbecued with chilli sambal or coated in leaves to protect the fish from burning.
The two stingray recipes below offer completely different flavour profiles and textures – give them a try.
In Asia and Australia stingray is inexpensive and a great fresh seafood ingredient for simmering, stewing and braising.
It doesn't overcook as easily as most fish, and the texture is quite sturdy.
In Europe, stingray is known as skate, and certain varieties are highly sought after, fetching top prices.
The famous French and British way of preparing skate is with beurre noisette – blackened butter with capers.
In UK and US there's some concern about overfishing. Skate is a premium table fish.
In Southeast Asia there are many varieties and it wouldn't appear to be under as much pressure, being a secondary catch.
In Vietnam and Thailand it's certainly plentiful and inexpensive.
The one bad thing about stingray is the shelf life.
If you can get this fresh from the market or the seafood supplier, use it the same day, or within 24 hours. If there's any ammonia smell, it's spoiled.
Here are two easy Southeast Asian stingray recipes.
One uses a saucepan – a clear spicy broth from North Thailand. The other is a simple barbecue, stingray wrapped in betel leaf and grilled over charcoal
'Gaeng pa' pla kraben recipe – North Thai stingray jungle curry (serves 4-5)
800g Stingray wings
5ea. Fresh red chilli, sliced in half
2 ea. Lemongrass stalks, lightly crushed (& knotted is good)
6 ea. Kaffir lime leaves (fresh or frozen is best)
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pork, shrimp, seafood or chicken flavour granules – Knorr, Maggi, Ajinomoto etc
½ tsp MSG (optional, but used in most Asian homes and restaurants)
½ ea Onion (about 100g)
1 cup Coriander
1 cup Spring onion
2 ea Fresh Limes (or lemon)
This is a "Gaeng" or 'curry' from North Thailand, without coconut milk.
Coconut grows on the coast, so in the South along the Andaman sea coconut is a main ingredient.
Coconuts don't grow as readily in mountainous, inland North Thailand, so up there 'jungle curries' are popular, made with curry paste or aromats, and water or clear stock. The light broth is scented with lemongrass, chilli, salt, kaffir lime leaves, onion.
After the flavours are infused, stingray pieces are added and simmered more until cooked.
Finish with fresh herbs and it's a delicious, light authentic Thai soup to brag about.
- Cut the stingray into chunks and rinse in cold water
- Put in to a steel saucpan and add the water.
- Throw in the chillies sliced in half, crushed lemongrass and torn kaffir lime leaves.
- Season to taste with salt, a pinch of sugar, pork or chicken powder.
- Let it simmer a little. About 5 minutes.
Add the onion, (sliced) and the stingray.
Simmer another 5-7 minutes until cooked through nicely.
Chop your clean fresh spring onion and coriander freshly.
Add them into the 'Gaeng' and adjust final seasoning to taste – get a nice balance.
Serve in bowls, then squeeze freshly cut lime or lemon into the bowl. Serve with steamed rice or sticky rice.
Stingray barbecued Vietnamese style in la lot leaf Ca duoi nuong la lot
This is a very quick and exceptionally delicious Vietnamese style of cooking stingray.
Around Danang City in central Vietnam, most of the seafood vendors near the beach offer whole stingray wrapped in betel leaf and grilled to perfection.
The betel leaf becomes aromatic when grilled and adds a magnificent extra dimension to the already delicate, juicy fish flesh.
So simple and delicious, it really is a 'must try' dish
1 stingray – about 800g – 1kg
20 La lot leaves (betel leaves, or pepper vine leaves)
Marinade of turmeric, garlic, oyster sauce, black pepper and oil (see below)
Chopsticks/skewers for bite sized, or a wire grilling rack for whole stingray
Vietnamese stingray marinade
- 4g / 1tsp turmeric root, crushed
- 4g/ 1 tsp garlic
- 20g / 1 tbsp oyster sauce (choose the thicker, richer premium varieties)
- 1g black peppercorns, freshly ground (to taste)
- 15ml / 1 dsp vegetable oil
- Cut the stingray into bite-sized chunks before marinating, OR marinate the whole stingray and wrap it whole.
- If cooking whole, use a wire grill holder to sandwich the whole stingray and hold the leaves on as it grills.The leaves will stick to the stingray and become charred and delicious
- If using bite sized pieces, wrap each marinated piece in a betel leaf, then hold in split chopsticks, or sewers / toothpicks
Last but not least, simply barbecued with shallot oil, topped with coriander, crispy shallots and chilli.
This was also a common local Danang beachfront eatery style
Hungry for more stingray recipes?
Here's a video from The Staff Canteen of Shane Osborn doing skate in beurre noisette with suckling pig belly
Here's some BBC skate recipes from their usual lineup of celebrity chefs
Here's a nice recipe for sambal stingray from kitchentigress
And finally, stingray features in the five things to eat in Malaysia post, by the always engaging RasaMalaysia site
What's your favourite stingray recipe or skate recipe link?
Do you have a better way to do it? Have you tried these methods before? I'm all ears. Please let me know in the comments