Ikan Sumbat (Chile Fried Fish)
In Malaysia, this pan-fried fish dish is typically made with stingray filets, but any six to ten-inch whole fish will do. This recipe first appeared in our October 2011 issue along with Jayanthi Daniel's article Hungry City.
Enlarge Image Credit: Todd ColemanSERVES 4
INGREDIENTS1 ¼ oz. tamarind paste
2 tbsp. small dried shrimp, soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes, drained
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 red Holland chile, stemmed and roughly chopped
½ small yellow onion, roughly chopped
½ cup canola oil
1½ tsp. dried shrimp paste
1 tbsp. sugar
1½ tsp. paprika
1 tsp. sriracha chili sauce
Kosher salt, to taste
2 small branzino, black sea bass, or bluefish (about 12 oz. each), gutted and cleaned
2 lime wedges, for serving
INSTRUCTIONS1. Bring tamarind and ½ cup water to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan over high heat, stirring until paste is dissolved; pour through a fine strainer into a small bowl, discard solids, and set tamarind sauce aside. Put shrimp, garlic, chile, and onion in a small food processor, and process until smooth; set chile mixture aside.
2. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat; add dried shrimp paste, and, using a spoon, mash paste with oil. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add chile mixture; cook, stirring, until mixture is no longer raw, 4–6 minutes. Add tamarind sauce, sugar, paprika, chili sauce, and salt, and cook, stirring, until thick, 8–10 minutes. Remove from heat; transfer chile paste to a bowl.
3. Wipe skillet clean, add remaining oil, and return to high heat. Using a spoon, stuff fish cavities with chile paste, and season with salt and pepper. Fry fish in skillet, turning once, until cooked through, 10–12 minutes. Squeeze lime over fish.